WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. wholesale prices rose for the second month in a row, suggesting that pricing pressures are building despite an extended period of low inflation.
The producer price index rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent for the month of April, up from 0.5 percent in March, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch estimated a 0.2 percent increase.
Despite the low inflation, wholesale prices last month were up 2.1 percent on an annual basis. Rising prices could suggest a rebound as global growth begins to pick up. It could also ease the apprehensions the Federal Reserve had about inflation remaining below the 2 percent mark.
Whole food sales rose 2.7 percent in April, the biggest jump since February 2011, and saw a 8.4 percent surge in the cost of meat, the highest gain since 2003. The drought in the West and porcine epidemic diarrhea have been putting pressure on the prices of beef, pork and other meats.
Energy prices were up 0.1 percent and core goods prices — which excludes food, energy and services costs — have risen 0.3 percent in three of the last five months.
While producer prices are important and one of the three inflation gauges used by the Labor Department, the true cost of living is reflected by the consumer price index, which measures what people actually pay.