US producer prices rose 0.4% in Sept.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Rising energy costs led prices at the wholesale level to climb 0.4 percent in September – a bout of inflation that happened in the wake of Hurricane Harvey closing a critical number of U.S. gasoline producers.

The sharp rise is expected to be temporary as the effects of the hurricane fade.

The Labor Department said Thursday that its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, has risen 2.6 percent over the past 12 months. September’s burst of inflation is likely the result of oil refineries shuttering along the Gulf of Mexico due to Hurricane Harvey toward the end of August. As a result, gasoline prices surged 10.9 percent in September.

The jump in producer prices is occurring after years of subdued inflation. The Federal Reserve targets a 2 percent yearly increase in consumer prices in order to encourage economic activity, but the U.S. central bank has persistently missed that target for the past five years.

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