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PPI Rose 0.4% in February as Energy, Pharma Costs Weigh

March 15, 2012 11:13 AM EDT Send to a Friend
Wholesale prices in the U.S. saw the largest rise in five months, data showed Thursday.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the producer price index (PPI) for February jumped 0.4 percent, compared to a 0.1 percent increase in the prior month. Amid the gain, economists were looking for a sharper 0.5 percent increase.

Core PPI came in up 0.2 percent, in-line with what the Street was expecting.

The gains come as fuel costs have pressured manufacturers and producers. Producer profits generally get crimped as it becomes tougher to pass costs along to customers.

For the 12 months ended February, wholesale prices rose 3.3 percent, the smallest gain since August 2010.

Energy costs popped 1.3 percent while food costs fell 0.1 percent. Pharmaceuticals contributed 30 percent to the increase in costs, with a 0.6 percent gain in February.

Earlier in the week, the Fed reiterated its stance that energy costs will start to ease moving forward: "the committee anticipates that subsequently inflation will run at or below the rate that it judges most consistent with its dual mandate."

U.S. markets are modestly in positive territory Thursday.




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