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Producer Prices in U.S. Rose 0.3% in August on Energy, Food

Producer Prices in U.S. Rose 0.3% in August on Energy, Food
An employee stocks salad mixes in the produce department of a Kroger supermarket in Peoria, Illinois. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Wholesale prices in the U.S. rose more than forecast in August, reflecting higher costs for food and some fuels.

The 0.3 percent increase in the producer price index followed no change in the prior month, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.2 percent gain. The core measure, which excludes volatile food and fuel costs, was unexpectedly unchanged from July.

Slower growth abroad that’s held down costs of some raw materials, is allowing manufacturers to hold the line on prices. Federal Reserve policy makers, who meet next week, continue to see inflation running below its 2 percent goal as they consider whether to pare record monetary stimulus.

Inflation will “remain subdued over the balance of this year,” David Sloan, senior economist at 4Cast Ltd. in New York, said before the report. “We may see some modest pickup next year assuming the economy gains some momentum.”

Estimates of the 76 economists in the Bloomberg survey ranged from a drop of 0.3 percent to a 0.6 percent increase.

Wholesale prices minus food and energy were projected to rise 0.1 percent, according to the median forecast. Compared with the same month a year earlier, companies paid 1.4 percent more for goods. The core index increased 1.1 percent in the 12 months ended in August, the smallest gain since June 2010.

Producer prices are one of three monthly inflation gauges from the Labor Department. Import prices were unchanged in August, a Labor Department report yesterday showed, and a Sept. 17 report will show that consumer prices climbed 0.2 percent last month, based on the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

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