U.S. wholesale prices increased in March by the most since last fall, driven largely by more expensive gas and electricity.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach consumers, rose 0.6% in March after falling in three of the previous four months. Wholesale prices rose 2.2% from last year. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core wholesale prices rose 0.3% in March and 2.4% compared with a year ago.
The figures suggest that inflation is largely in check, a trend that has enabled the Federal Reserve to pull back from last year’s steady rate hikes. Fed policymakers suggested at their most recent meeting in March that they did not expect to hike short-term rates for the rest of this year.