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A rise in prices for utilities and petroleum industry services saw wholesale inflation in Australia rise at its quickest pace in 15 months during the first three months of the year.

The producer price index climbed 0.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the three months ended March 31, equalling the December quarter’s advance, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

That helped push the annual rate to 1.3 per cent in the first quarter from 0.7 per cent at the end of last year. It was the fastest pace of increase since the December quarter of 2015.

In both the quarterly and yearly figures, increases in the prices received for electricity supply, gas supply, water supply, sewerage and drainage services saw big gains, as did the petroleum refining and oil and gas extraction industries.

The wholesale data come in the wake of Wednesday’s consumer price index, which showed headline inflation rising back into the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 2-3 per cent target range for the first time since 2014.

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