PPI Trudges in U.S. in January

Wholesale inflation in the United States appeared last month to take a backward step.

Figures released Thursday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic showed the producer price index (PPI) fell 0.1% in January largely because of lower energy prices, the latest evidence of waning inflation.

Economists had predicted a 0.1% gain. The increase in wholesale inflation over the past year slowed to 2% from 2.5%. Wholesale prices rose in January for services and warehousing, but another decline in gasoline mostly offset those increases.

South of the border, gas prices slumped 7.3%, while wholefood costs fell 1.7%. Excluding food and energy, the so-called core PPI rate rose 0.2% last month. The yearly rate of increase in core prices tapered to 2.5% from 2.8%.