The cost of producing goods and services in the United States rose slightly in January with higher food prices partly offset by cheaper gasoline, but there was little indication of a broad advance in inflationary pressures at the wholesale level, the government reported Wednesday.
The Labor Department said its producer price index (PPI), which tracks prices before they reach the consumer, rose 0.2 percent last month, following a 0.1 percent gain in December and a flat reading the previous month.
In the past year, PPI has risen only 1.2 percent, well below the Federal Reserve (Fed) target rate of 2 percent.
The index recently has been broadened to include services and construction. PPI now covers about 72 percent of services, which along with other factors, will see it likely tracking closely with the Labor Department's consumer price index (CPI), economists say.
Final demand for goods rose 0.4 percent in January after rising by the same amount the previous month. Demand for services increased 0.1 percent after declining 0.1 percent in January.
Excluding volatile energy and food costs, core PPI rose 0.2 percent in January after being flat the previous month. A broader gauge of core PPI - demand excluding food, energy, and trade services - rose 0.1 percent after rising 0.3 percent in December.
In the past 12 months, core PPI rose 1.3 percent, also well below the Fed target of 2 percent.