US wholesale prices rise 0.3 pct., led by costlier gas, food

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U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.3 percent in December, led higher by more expensive gas, food and cars.

The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach consumers, increased 1.6 percent last year. That's the biggest 12-month gain since September 2014. Still, it is low historically and suggests inflation is largely in check.

The Federal Reserve has begun to slowly raise interest rates as the economy heals and is keeping a close eye on inflation. With wages starting to increase more quickly, companies may raise prices to offset those costs. Yet wholesale price increases remain below the Fed's target of 2 percent.

December's gain was led by a big climb in wholesale gas prices, which rose 7.8 percent.