US producer prices edge up in January

Washington (AFP) –


US wholesale prices edged up 0.1 percent in January but core prices showed greater strength, Labor Department data showed Wednesday.

The gain in the producer price index after a decline in December came on a 1.0 percent jump in food costs in the month, and rises in the cost of trade and transportation services.

Pulling back on total PPI prices was a 5.0 percent decline in energy costs, as oil and gas prices continued to sink.

Overall prices were still down year-over-year as inflationary pressures remain weak.

Over 12 months the broad PPI fell 0.2 percent in January, less than the 1.0 percent-plus year-on-year decline registered in each of the previous five months.

The core PPI -- prices on final demand goods and services excluding volatile food and energy -- was up 0.2 percent in the month and 0.8 percent year-on-year, the highest gain since July.

The muted gain supported the view of the Federal Reserve that inflation might pick up, though only very gradually, despite the downward drag of energy prices and the cost of imports, which have become cheaper due to the strong dollar.