Wholesale prices rose at the slowest pace in 10 months in May as food costs fell and gas prices rose by the smallest amount in eight months. The figures suggest consumers could see some relief from rising prices soon.
The Producer Price Index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, increased 0.2 percent in May, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That's down sharply from a 0.8 percent rise in April and a 0.7 percent increase in March.
In the past 12 months, the index has risen 7.3 percent, the most since September 2008.
Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, the so-called "core" index also increased 0.2 percent, driven by higher prices for plastics, clothing and new cars. The core index has risen 2.1 percent in the past year.
Rapid increases in food and energy prices have driven up inflation since last fall. That has slowed the economy as consumers have had to spend more on those items and less on other goods. But food and gas prices are moderating, at least for now.
Wholesale food costs dropped 1.4 percent in May, the steepest drop in almost a year. Fruit and vegetable prices led the declines. Tomatoes plummeted 47.2 percent, the most since last June, while spinach prices dropped 48.4 percent and watermelons fell 73.7 percent, the most on record.
Gas prices, meanwhile, increased 2.7 percent in May, but that was the smallest rise since last September.
Gas prices have fallen further since last month, after nearly reaching $4 a gallon in late April. The nationwide average price dipped to just under $3.70 per gallon Tuesday, according to AAA. Still, that's up $1 from a year earlier.
Oil prices, meanwhile, fell to $97 a barrel Tuesday due to concerns that a slowing global economy will lower demand. A drop in Greece's credit rating has intensified concerns about a weakening of Europe's economy. And job creation fell sharply in the U.S. last month, the latest in a string of negative economic data.
© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.