WASHINGTON – U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.2 percent in February. A pickup in services prices offset a drop in the cost of food and energy.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that the February increase in its producer price index was half January’s 0.4 percent gain. Over the past year, producer prices, which show inflation before it reaches consumers, rose 2.8 percent.
Energy prices fell 0.5 percent in February, and food prices fell 0.4 percent as fresh and dry vegetable prices plunged 27.1 percent, most since May 2007. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core wholesale inflation rose 0.2 percent for the third straight month.
Prices have been rising faster for producers than for consumers. Tthe Labor Department reported Tuesday that consumer prices rose just 2.2 percent over the past year.