updated 1/13/2006 8:48:24 AM ET 2006-01-13T13:48:24

Soaring gasoline costs pushed inflation at the wholesale level up sharply in December, ending a year in which wholesale inflation rose at the fastest pace since 1990.

Major Market Indices

The Labor Department reported that its Producer Price Index, which measures price pressures before they reach the consumer, rose 0.9 percent in December, the biggest increase since a 1.7 percent jump in September. The culprit in both months was a big surge in gasoline costs, which spiked above $3 per gallon in early September, reflecting lost Gulf Coast production following Hurricane Katrina.

For all of 2005, wholesale prices rose by 5.4 percent. That was the biggest increase since a 5.7 percent increase in 1990, and another year in which surging oil costs pushed inflation higher. However, core inflation, excluding energy and food, was up a more moderate 1.7 percent in 2005, including a tiny 0.1 percent increase in December.

The 0.9 percent increase in wholesale prices in December followed a 0.7 percent plunge in prices in November. Economists had been expecting a rebound last month but the increase was more than double the 0.4 percent rise they had been predicting.

The increase was expected to keep the Federal Reserve on a path of gradually moving interest rates higher to make sure that energy price pressures do not spill over into more broad-based inflation problems.

Analysts believe the Fed will boost a key interest rate for a 14th time when officials next meet on Jan. 31, which will be Alan Greenspan’s last meeting as chairman. Another quarter-point hike is expected in March at the first meeting where Ben Bernanke will preside as chairman.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 3.79%
$30K home equity loan FICO 4.99%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.69%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.83%
Cash Back Cards 17.80%
Rewards Cards 17.18%
Source: Bankrate.com