[WASHINGTON] US producer prices rose in April as energy prices increased, but a marginal gain in the cost of services pointed to a moderate increase in inflation in the coming months.
The Labor Department said on Friday its producer price index climbed 0.2 per cent last month after slipping 0.1 per cent in March. In the 12 months through April, the PPI was unchanged after dipping 0.1 per cent in March.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the PPI gaining 0.3 per cent last month and rising 0.2 per cent from a year ago.
Inflation continues to be restrained by the lingering effects of the dollar's surge and oil price plunge. The greenback gained 20 per cent against the currencies of the United States' trading partners between June 2014 and December 2015.
The dollar has this year dropped 2.5 per cent on a trade-weighted basis and oil has bounced off multi-year lows.
Last month, energy prices increased 0.2 per cent after increasing 1.8 per cent in March. Wholesale food prices fell 0.3 per cent following a 0.9 per cent drop in March. Wholesale chicken eggs tumbled 33.9 per cent in April.
Prices for services edged up 0.1 per cent after slipping 0.2 per cent in March.
A key measure of underlying producer price pressures that excludes food, energy and trade services rose 0.3 per cent last month after being unchanged in March. The so-called core PPI was up 0.9 per cent in the 12 months through April after a similar increase in March.