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More expensive gas drives US wholesale prices 0.7 pct. higher in February; food prices fall

A measure of U.S. wholesale prices rose in February by the most in five months, pushed higher by more expensive gas and pharmaceuticals. But outside those increases, inflation was mild.

The Labor Department says the producer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in February from January. That's up from 0.2 percent in the previous month. Wholesale gas prices rose 7.2 percent.

Even with the increase, wholesale prices have risen just 1.7 percent in the past 12 months. That's below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent inflation target.

The index measures the cost of goods before they reach consumers.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core wholesale prices rose only 0.2 percent last month. In the past 12 months, core prices have increased 1.7 percent.

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