Wholesale prices soared 1.1 percent in October on another huge jump in energy prices as war fears gripped Middle East oil fields, the Labor Department said Friday.
Private economists expected an increase of 0.7 percent in the government's closely watched Producer Price Index for the month.The 1.1 percent jump follows leaps of 1.6 percent in September and 1.3 percent in August in the aftermath of Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait and the massing of U.S. and other forces in the embattled region.
A spokesman for the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said wholesale prices for finished goods have increased 7 percent, adjusted for seasonal factors, since the beginning of the year.
"Large advances in indexes for energy goods accounted for most of the October rises at all three major stages of processing," the Labor Department said. "Also, prices for food items turned up broadly after September decreases."
By category, wholesale energy prices were up 8 percent in October after rising 13.8 percent in September and 9.5 percent in August.
"Prices for both gasoline and home heating oil continued to rise at a rapid pace, but the change was less than in either of the two previous months," the department said. "The index for natural gas turned down slightly."
Wholesale food prices increased 0.9 percent in October after dipping 0.9 percent in September and advancing 0.8 percent in August.
"Prices turned up after falling in the previous month for beef and veal, pork, eggs, fresh and dried vegetables and pasta," the department said.
Not counting energy and food, wholesale prices for other finished goods were unchanged last month after edging up 0.6 percent in September and 0.3 percent in August, the Labor Department said.
Wholesale prices for crude goods, meanwhile, increased a hefty 8.7 percent in October after jumping 4.6 percent in September and 9.3 percent in August.
Wholesale prices for intermediate goods, the step between crude and finished, advanced 1.5 percent.