WASHINGTON – A big decline in food costs helped hold down U.S. wholesale prices in September, contributing to a 0.1 per cent decline, the first drop since April.
The Labor Department says the slight dip followed a 0.3 per cent rise in prices in August. Wholesale food prices fell 1 per cent, led by a plunge in vegetable prices.
The lower food costs helped offset a 0.5 per cent rise in energy prices. That increase reflected higher prices for home heating oil, diesel fuel and natural gas. Gasoline prices, which had shot up 2.6 per cent in August, dipped 0.1 per cent in September.
Excluding volatile food and energy, so-called core prices rose a slight 0.1 per cent in September and have risen a modest 1.2 per cent over the past 12 months.