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U.S. Producer Prices Climb 0.8% In February, Slightly Less Than Expected

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A report released by the Labor Department on Tuesday showed producer prices in the U.S. increased by slightly less than expected in the month of February.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand climbed by 0.8 percent in February after surging by an upwardly revised 1.2 percent in January.

Economists had expected producer prices to advance by 0.9 percent compared to the 1.0 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

Compared to the same month a year ago, producer prices were up by a record 10.0 percent in February, unchanged from a revised 10.0 percent spike in January.

"Inflation in the pipeline is showing few signs of decelerating in the near term, especially as the Russia-Ukraine war wreaks havoc in energy and other commodity markets," said Mahir Rasheed, U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

He added, "Higher input costs will keep producer prices frustratingly elevated and continue to squeeze profit margins, likely feeding higher consumer prices in the coming months until war tensions unwind and goods demand moderates."

Energy prices helped lead the monthly increase in producer prices, soaring by 8.2 percent in February after surging by 3.7 percent in January.

The report also showed another jump in food prices, which shot up by 1.9 percent in February after leaping by 1.7 percent in January.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said service prices were unchanged in February after advancing by 1.0 percent in the previous month.

A 1.9 percent surge in prices for transportation and warehousing services and a 0.2 percent uptick in prices for trade services were offset by a 0.4 percent drop in prices for other services.

Excluding prices for food, energy and trade services, core producer prices edged up by 0.2 percent in February following a 0.8 percent increase in January.

The report showed the annual rate of growth in core prices slowed to 6.6 percent in February from 6.8 percent in January.

Last Thursday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing a continued acceleration in the annual rate of U.S. consumer price growth in the month of February.

The report showed the annual rate of consumer price growth accelerated to 7.9 percent in February from 7.5 percent in January, reaching the highest rate since January 1982.

The faster year-over-year price growth came as consumer prices climbed by 0.8 percent in February after rising by 0.6 percent in January. The increase in prices matched economist estimates.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.5 percent in February following a 0.6 percent increase in January. The core price growth also matched expectations.

The annual rate of core consumer price growth accelerated to 6.4 percent in February from 6.0 percent in January, showing the fastest growth since August 1982.

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