Wholesale inflation rises more than expected in September, with prices jumping 8.5%

Inflation at the wholesale level rose more than expected in September as prices for everyday necessities remain at a multi-decade high, squeezing businesses and millions of American households.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that its producer price index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level before it reaches consumers, rose 0.4% in September from the previous month. On an annual basis, prices soared 8.5%. That is down from the 8.7% recorded in August and marks the lowest reading since July 2021.

Still, those figures were both higher than the 8.3% headline figure and 0.3% monthly gain forecast by Refinitiv economists, a worrisome sign for the Federal Reserve as it seeks to cool price gains and tame consumer demand with an aggressive interest rate hike campaign.

Excluding food, energy and trade services, inflation at the wholesale level increased 0.4% for the month – the fastest gain since May. Over the past 12 months, core prices climbed 5.6%.

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