(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) U.S. wholesale prices fell unexpectedly in April as energy costs dropped by the most in six months, a sign of easing inflationary pressures, the government reported Friday.
The Labor Department said its producer price index (PPI), which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, fell 0.2 percent last month, the first decline since December and the biggest drop since October.
The drop in PPI was due to a 1.4 percent decrease in energy prices, the largest decline since October. Gasoline costs fell 1.7 percent, while prices also were lower for residential natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas.
Excluding volatile energy and food costs, core PPI rose 0.2 percent in April due to higher prices for pharmaceuticals and civilian aircraft. The gain was in line with economist expectations. Core PPI rose 0.3 percent in March.
The decline in overall PPI left wholesale prices 1.9 percent higher in April than a year earlier, the smallest 12-month change since October 2009. Core PPI increased 2.7 percent in the 12 months ending in April, the lowest reading since August.
Modest wholesale inflation reduces pressure on manufacturers and retailers to raise prices, helping keep consumer prices stable. Gasoline prices spiked earlier this year but have declined 5 percent since peaking in April.