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January 15, 2014 8:40 AM, EST
Producer Prices Rise for First Time in Three Months

Prices paid to U.S. producers rose for first time in three months, increasing 0.4% in December, the Labor Department reported Jan. 15.

Last month’s producer price index reading followed a dip of 0.1% in November. Economists’ forecast matched December’s increase, Bloomberg News reported.

Prices increased 1.2% for the year, the smallest gain since 2008, and followed a 1.4% rise in 2012.

The so-called core PPI, which excludes food and energy, was 0.3% higher than economists’ predictions of a 0.1% rise. Core prices increased 1.4% in the 12 months ended in December, the smallest annual gain since 2010, Bloomberg reported.

“Producer price pressures have been subdued for the last year, reflecting stable import costs and excess capacity,” Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc., told Bloomberg. “There’s been very little goods inflation in the U.S.”

An increase in the PPI could indicate strong demand for goods, which would mean more shipments for trucking companies. However, if inflation begins to accelerate too quickly, the economy could be hurt.