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U.S. producer prices climb 1.6% in February

U.S. producer prices climb 1.6% in February (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - U.S. wholesale prices jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.6% in February as food costs experienced the biggest one-month rise since 1974, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. Core producer prices, which exclude the volatile food and energy categories, rose a smaller 0.2%. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.7 % increase in overall producer prices and a 0.2% increase in the core rate. Overall producer prices have risen an unadjusted 5.6% over the past 12 months, although the core rate has gone up at a much slower pace of 1.8%. The wholesale food index shot up 3.9% and the wholesale energy index rose 3.3% last month. Prices for intermediate goods, meanwhile, rose 2% in February and the crude index climbed 3.4%.