WASHINGTON -- A sharp jump in the cost of vegetables led wholesale prices to rise at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.2% in January compared with the previous month, the biggest increase since the summer, the Labor Department said Wednesday.
The Producer Price Index for finished goods. one of several gauges of inflation, had dropped for three straight months, including a 0.3% decline in December, before January's rise.
The main driver of January's increase was a 0.7% jump in food prices. The costs of fresh and dry vegetables were up 39% from December, as cold weather in California and elsewhere damaged crops.
Prices for soft drinks, candy and nuts also rose. The higher cost of food offset a 0.4% drop in energy prices.