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Producer prices rise 0.5% in March

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The prices companies receive for their goods and services jumped in March, led by gains for food, clothing, jewelry and chemicals.

The producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, rose 0.5 percent in March, the Labor Department said.

Overall inflation remains relatively tame. Producer prices increased 1.4 percent during the past 12 months.

Wholesale food prices rose last month, led by a 30.4 percent leap in the price of hogs and 12.4 percent increase in poultry. On the down side, gasoline prices fell 2.4 percent and electric power, 0.7 percent. Excluding the volatile categories of food, energy and retailer and wholesaler profit margins, core prices ticked up 0.3 percent.

Some of the higher prices were due to a “distortion caused by the unusually bad weather” in previous months, said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

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