Wholesale prices increased 1.1% in March, seasonally adjusted, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. This advance followed a 0.3% rise in February and a 1.0% increase in January. The rise in the index for finished goods less foods and energy (core inflation) slowed to 0.2% from 0.5% in February.
For the 12 months ended March 2008, wholesale prices rose 6.9%. Over the same period, the index for finished energy goods increased 20.4%, prices for finished consumer foods moved up 5.8%, and the index for finished goods less foods and energy advanced 2.7%. For the 12 months ended in March, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods rose 10.5%, and the crude goods index advanced 31.4%.
For the first quarter 2008, wholesale prices increased 10.2% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), after climbing at an 11.5% SAAR during the fourth quarter 2007. Much of this slower rate of increase can be traced to prices for finished energy goods, which moved up at a 22.5% rate for the first quarter 2008 after jumping at a 44.1% rate for the fourth quarter 2007.
Core inflation in the first quarter 2008 (finished goods less foods and energy) increased at a 5% SAAR after rising at a 2.2% rate during the fourth quarter 2007.
The index for finished consumer foods increased at a 10.1% rate for the first quarter, faster than in the fourth quarter 2007. At the earlier stages of processing, the intermediate goods index moved up at a 19.4% SAAR, and prices for crude goods surged at a 73.4% SAAR after jumping at a 67.7% SAAR for the three months ended in December.
Before seasonal adjustment, the Producer Price Index for Finished Goods climbed 1.9% in March to 175.4 (1982 = 100).