WASHINGTON — Falling energy prices kept a lid on U.S. wholesale inflation in July after a jump in gasoline boosted prices in June.
The Labor Department reported today that wholesale prices showed no change last month compared with June, when they rose 0.8 percent. That was the most in nine months.
Energy costs fell 0.2 percent, after June’s 2.9 percent surge. Gasoline prices dropped 0.8 percent, and natural gas costs slid 3.9 percent.
Excluding volatile food and energy costs, so-called core prices rose just 0.1 percent. Core wholesale prices are up 1.2 percent over the past 12 months, the smallest one-year increase since November, 2010.
Tame inflation has helped consumers increase spending this year despite slow income growth and higher taxes.
Aside from sharp swings in gas prices, consumer and wholesale inflation has barely increased in the past year. Overall wholesale prices rose 2.1 percent in July compared with the previous July.
For July, drug prices rose 1 percent, the largest gain since a 2.5 percent rise in January. Drug companies have been introducing price increases in January and July of each year. Food costs were flat in July as a jump in pork prices was offset by a decline in the cost of fresh vegetables.
On Thursday, the government will report on consumer prices for July, and economists estimate that overall and core prices rose just 0.2 percent.