US producer prices flat in July, restraining inflation

U.S. wholesale prices were unchanged in July after two months of large increases, a sign inflation pressures have softened.

The Labor Department says the producer price index — which measures price changes before they reach the consumer — increased 3.3 percent last month from a year earlier. That’s down slightly from 3.4 percent in June, which was the biggest in six years.

Gas prices and other energy costs fell after two months of strong gains, and food costs also declined. The price soybeans and other oilseeds fell 14 percent, the most in four years, likely reflecting a buildup in soybean stocks after China imposed tariffs on them in retaliation for U.S. duties.

With the economy growing at a healthy clip, inflation has perked up after a decade of tame prices.

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