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Wholesale prices edge up 0.2 percent in April

FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2019, photo Chardonnay wine ages in barrels at Willamette Valley Vineyards in Turner, Ore. On May 9, the Labor Department reports on U.S. producer price inflation in April. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices edged up 0.2% in April, driven higher by a big jump in energy costs.

The Labor Department says the increase in its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, followed an even bigger 0.6% March increase.

Wholesale prices are up 2.2% over the past year while prices, excluding volatile food and energy, have risen 2.4%. Inflation pressures remain under control, a fact that has allowed the Federal Reserve to move to the sidelines in terms of pushing interest rates higher. After four rate hikes in 2018, Fed officials have indicated they expect no further rate hikes this year.

For April, energy prices jumped 1.8% following an even bigger 5.6% percent March gain. Gasoline prices were up 5.9%.

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