14 Jan 2011

Wholesale prices in US jump

10:57 am on 14 January 2011

Wholesale prices in the United States had their biggest increase in 11 months in December, led by higher energy and food costs.

The Producer Price Index rose 1.1% in December, compared with a gain of 0.8% in November. It was the largest increase since January of last year.

The BBC reports heating oil had the biggest rise, up 12.3%, while the cost of petrol gained 6.4%. Food prices rose 0.8%.

Vegetables posted the biggest increase in wholesale prices in December, jumping 22.8%. They were followed by fresh fruits, which added 15%.

However, excluding energy and food costs, prices rose just 0.2% last month.

The Labor Department said this was a slowdown on an increase of 0.3% in November.

The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that the US economy was continuing to grow moderately, but suffering from high unemployment.

Also on Wednesday, the Agriculture Department warned that US grain prices had risen to their highest level in two and a half years. These price rises came as a result of a drop in corn and soya bean production.