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U.S. Producer Prices Show Slight Uptick In February

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With a rebound in energy prices partly offset by a drop in food prices, the Labor Department released a report on Wednesday showing a modest increase in U.S. producer prices in the month of February.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand inched up by 0.1 percent in February after edging down by 0.1 percent in January. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

The uptick in producer prices came amid a notable rebound in energy prices, which surged up by 1.8 percent in February after plunging by 3.8 percent in January.

On the other hand, the report said food prices fell by 0.3 percent in February, extending the 1.7 percent slump in the previous month.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices also ticked up by 0.1 percent in February after climbing by 0.3 percent in the previous month. Core prices were also expected to increase by 0.2 percent.

The Labor Department said prices for final demand services were unchanged in February after rising by 0.3 percent in January.

The unchanged reading came as a 0.4 percent drop in prices for trade services and a 1.3 percent plunge in prices for transportation and warehousing services was offset by a 0.3 percent increase in prices for other services.

Compared to the same month a year ago, producer prices were up by 2.3 percent in February, reflecting a slowdown from the 2.5 percent increase in January.

The annual rate of growth in core producer prices also slowed to 2.5 percent in February from 2.6 percent in January.

On Tuesday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing a modest increase in consumer prices in the month of February.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.2 percent in February after coming in unchanged for three straight months. The uptick in consumer prices matched economist estimates.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices inched up by 0.1 percent in February after rising by 0.2 percent in January. Economists had expected another 0.2 percent increase in prices.

The report also said the annual rate of consume price growth slowed to 1.5 percent in February from 1.6 percent in November, while the annual rate of core consumer price growth edged down to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent.

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