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U.S. wholesale prices fall 0.1% in December

U.S. wholesale prices fall 0.1% in December (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - U.S. wholesale prices fell 0.1% in December, as the cost of gas and food declined, the government reported Wednesday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.1% increase. The decline in wholesale prices stemmed entirely from lower energy and food costs. They both fell 0.8% last month. Yet core wholesale prices, which strip out the volatile food and energy categories, jumped an unexpectedly high 0.3%. Economists were expecting a 0.1% increase. The core index is viewed by the Federal Reserve as a more accurate gauge of inflationary pressure. Wholesale costs jumped 4.8% in 2011 after climbing 3.8% in 2010. The core rate rose by 3.0% in 2011, the fastest 12-month increase since mid-2009.