Wholesale prices increased in July to the highest annual rate since 1981, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Labor. The annual Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods rose 9.8 percent from July 2007 to July 2008, the fastest rate of increase since a 10.4 percent increase in June 1981, and far higher than industry analysts' average prediction of 0.2 percent. The overall increase was attributed to a 3.1 percent gain in energy prices and a 0.3 percent rise in food prices. Excluding food and energy costs, core inflation for producers rose 0.7 percent. The monthly PPI rose 1.2 percent in July over the previous month, higher than industry analysts' average prediction of 0.4 percent.
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