U.S. wholesale prices rise for first time in 4 months

08:29, August 18, 2010      

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U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.2 percent in July, the first time in four months, alleviating concerns that the U.S. economy might fall into a prolonged deflation just as Japan did in its "lost decade," the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of inflation at the wholesale level, increased 0.2 percent in July from a month earlier, following three consecutive months of decline from April to June. Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices rose 4.2 percent.

July's gain reflected a 0.7-percent rise in food prices, following three consecutive declines. Energy prices moved down 0.9 percent, its fourth consecutive decrease, primarily due to a 2.2-percent decline in gasoline prices.

Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, core wholesale prices moved up 0.3 percent in July from the prior month, the largest increase since a similar 0.3-percent rise in January. Economists had expected a gain of 0.1 percent.

The trend of the wholesale prices is basically in line with that of the consumer prices.

Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks inflation at the retail level, rose 0.3 percent in July following three consecutive months of decline. Consumer prices other than energy and food costs edged up 0.1 percent last month after a 0.2-percent gain in June.

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