Wholesale prices higher than expected

Producer Price Index rose 0.8% in January, topping forecasts for a 0.3% increase and marking the first rise in six months.

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By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The government's measurement of wholesale inflation rose more than expected in January, due largely to rising energy prices.

The Producer Price Index, which tracks the changes in selling prices for domestic producers, rose 0.8% last month, the government said Thursday. A consensus of economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a 0.3% increase.

The latest figure compares with a decline of 1.9% in the prior month, which had marked the fifth straight month of declines.

The core PPI, which excludes the volatile energy and food costs, rose 0.4% in January.

The core PPI was expected to edge up 0.1% in January, according to the Briefing.com consensus, following a gain of 0.2% the prior month.

Dave Rovelli, managing director for Canaccord Adams, said the rising PPI "squashes some of the deflation worries people had."

However, he did note that the one-month increase might just be an anomaly, but that won't be known until the government releases figures for February.

"Hopefully this doesn't start a trend of it going higher and higher," said Rovelli.

Energy prices rose 3.7% in January, compared to a decline of 9.1% the prior month, the government said. As part of this, the gasoline price index jumped 15% in January, after plunging 26.2% in December.

Food prices fell in 0.4% in January, compared to a decline of 1.4% the prior month, the government said.

On Friday, the bureau will release its January figures for the Consumer Price Index, a measurement of retail inflation.

A consensus of analysts surveyed by Briefing.com expect the CPI to have edged up 0.1% in January, compared with a flat number in December. The core CPI, excluding food and energy, was expected to have risen 0.3% in January, compared with a decline of 0.7% the prior month. To top of page

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