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US wholesale prices up slight 0.1% in December

WASHINGTON — U.S. wholesale prices rose a slight 0.1% in December as a jump in the cost of energy was offset by falling food prices.

The Labor Department said Wednesday the December increase in its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, followed no change in November.

Energy prices were up 1.5%, more than double the 0.6% November gain, with gasoline costs up 3.7% and heating oil up 7.7%, the biggest monthly gain in two years.

Food costs were down 0.2%, the first drop since August, with the biggest drop in beef prices in more than two years offsetting a jump in the price of chicken.

For the year, wholesale prices are up a modest 1.3%, down from a 2.6% gain in 2018.

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press