US wholesale prices rose in January, led by gasoline

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Gas Pump (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Higher costs for gasoline costs helped fuel a rise in U.S. wholesale prices in January, but overall inflation appears to be in check.

The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach consumers, increased 0.6 percent between January and December. Producer prices rose 1.6 percent over the past year, a relatively low level of inflation.

Rising energy costs are a prime source of inflation. Wholesale prices for gasoline jumped 12.9 percent over the past month and 32.3 percent over the past year.

The Federal Reserve has begun to slowly raise interest rates and is carefully watching inflation when considering additional rate increases. The Fed targets inflation at 2 percent a year, enough to keep prices relatively stable while encouraging economic activity.