U.S. producer prices fell in March for the fifth time in the past eight months, reflecting a drop in food prices which offset the biggest increase in energy prices in 10 months. Even with the increase in energy, inflation remained at modest levels.

The Labor Department says its Producer Price Index dropped 0.1 percent in March after a 0.2 percent decline in February.

Food costs dropped 0.9 percent while energy prices increased 1.8 percent, the biggest jump since last May. The energy increase came after a sustained period of falling prices for gasoline and other energy products.

Overall, producer prices are down 0.1 percent over the past 12 months while core prices, which exclude food and energy, are up a modest 1 percent.