US wholesale prices drop 0.3 per cent in December, driven down by big plunge in gas costs

WASHINGTON – U.S. wholesale prices fell in December by the largest amount in more than three years, reflecting the biggest monthly decline in the cost of gasoline in six years.

The Labor Department says its producer price index declined 0.3 per cent in December, the biggest decline since a similar drop in October 2011. In November, wholesale prices dipped 0.2 per cent.

Over the past year, prices at the wholesale level have risen 1.1 per cent, putting the 2014 rise in wholesale prices slightly below the 1.2 per cent increase seen in 2013.

Gas prices plunged 14.5 per cent in December, the biggest decline since December 2008. Falling energy prices have pushed already low inflation even lower. Excluding food and energy, wholesale prices rose 0.3 per cent last month and were up 2.1 per cent for all of 2014.