WASHINGTON (AP) — Wholesale prices fell for a second consecutive month, led by a big drop in energy prices.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that its producer price index, designed to measure inflation before it reaches the consumer, dropped 0.2% in March after a bigger 0.6% decline in February.
Energy prices dropped a sharp 6.7% in March, the third straight monthly decline as global oil prices have taken a nosedive, in part because of falling demand as the coronavirus impacts travel.
Over the past year, wholesale prices are up 0.7% from a year ago, indicating that even before the coronavirus disrupted economic activity, there were no signs that inflation was becoming a problem.
For March, food prices were unchanged after having fallen 1.6% in February.