US producer prices rise at quicker rate than forecast

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US producer prices climbed at a more rapid rate than Wall Street had anticipated in January, underscoring the growing inflationary pressure in the American economy.

The producer price index was up by 0.6 per cent in January from the previous month, double the rise that Wall Street economists had expected. Excluding the more volatile food and energy components, the so-called core gauge was up by 0.4 per cent, compared with forecasts for a rise of 0.2 per cent.

The figures highlight how inflation, having been stubbornly low for much of the recovery from the 2008 recession, is showing signs of heating up.

Tuesday’s report comes just hours before Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen is slated to testify before Congress on monetary policy. Wall Street economists pared-back expectations for a March rate increase after January wage growth disappointed. However, signs that price growth is rising could affect the forecast.

More closely watched data on consumer prices are due out on Wednesday.

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