U.S. wholesale prices fell in December by the largest amount in more than three years, the government said Thursday, reflecting the biggest monthly decline in the cost of gasoline in six years.
The Labor Department reported that its producer price index dropped 0.3 percent last month, the biggest decline since a similar drop in October 2011. Wholesale prices in November fell 0.2 percent.
Prices at the wholesale level over the past year have risen 1.1 percent, making the 2014 rise in wholesale prices slightly below the 1.2 percent increase seen in 2013.
The producer price index measures the cost of goods and services before they reach the consumer. U.S. consumers have been seeing a significant drop in the price they pay for gas at the pump, which has helped to depress consumer prices.
Wholesale prices in December for food dropped 0.4 percent with the price of meat, vegetables, and cheese all down. But the price of eggs surged 35.9 percent, the biggest increase since May 2013.
Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, the 0.3 percent rise in core producer prices reflected in part a 0.6 percent increase in motor vehicle prices.