Producer Price Index Down In December

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WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. producer prices for finished goods fell for the third consecutive month in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

On a 12-month unadjusted basis, prices were up 1.3 percent, the fourth lowest figure of 2012 behind May through June, when annual inflation averaged 0.6 percent.

Both food and energy prices received by producers fell in December with food prices off 0.9 percent and energy prices off 0.3 percent, pressured by a 1.7 percent decline in gasoline prices.

The lower index for food indicates that the drought of 2012 has not yet affected pricing.

Core prices, which excludes both energy and food items because of the price volatility of those categories, rose 0.1 percent month-to-month for the second consecutive month.

Core prices are considered a key inflation measure, as they show how much energy prices are seeping into other expenses.

For intermediate goods, prices rose 0.3 percent in December, while prices of crude goods, generally raw materials, rose 2.5 percent.

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