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Wholesale prices see biggest jump in 3 years in August

By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — Wholesale prices jumped 1.7 percent in August from July — their largest gain since June 2009 — as the cost of food and energy boomed.

The seasonally adjusted increase in the producer price index was driven mostly by a 6.4 percent surge in energy prices, according to the Labor Department. That’s the most substantial leap in three years.

Gasoline prices swelled 13.6 percent in August, according to the measure. Another report earlier this week found gasoline prices ticking up nationwide.

After a summer scorched by drought, food costs rose 0.9 percent in their third straight month of escalation, marking the largest increase in nine months, according to the government report.

Much of the advance is due to dairy prices growing 3 percent, along with costlier fresh eggs.

The overall gauge ticked up 0.3 percent in July and 0.1 percent in June.

The core index, which strips out the oft-fluctuating energy and food figures, was up 0.2 percent in August from July. Compared with last year, core prices are up 2.5 percent.

At least customers seem to be in their best mood in years. A study from Chapman University found consumer confidence in California at its highest level since mid-2008.

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