Soaring costs for gasoline and food pushed inflation at the wholesale level up by a larger-than-expected amount in June, leaving inflation...
WASHINGTON — Soaring costs for gasoline and food pushed inflation at the wholesale level up by a larger-than-expected amount in June, leaving inflation rising over the past year at the fastest pace in more than a quarter-century.
The Labor Department reported that wholesale prices jumped by 1.8 percent last month, the biggest one-month rise since last November. Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices are up 9.2 percent, the largest year-over-year surge since June 1981, another period when soaring energy costs were giving the country inflation pains.
Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, was better behaved in June, rising by just 0.2 percent, slightly lower than expectations.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who was scheduled to deliver his mid-year report on the economy to Congress on Tuesday, was expected to highlight the threat posed by inflation pressures. The central bank at its June meeting brought an end to an aggressive rate-cutting campaign that had been designed to keep a prolonged housing slump and severe credit crunch from pushing the country into a deep recession.
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The central bank is currently caught between the opposing forces of rising inflation and slumping economic growth.
For June, energy prices at the wholesale level shot up by 6 percent, as the price of gasoline surged by 9 percent following an even bigger 9.3 percent increase in May.