The Labor Department's Producer Price Index for Finished Goods dropped 1.2% in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. The decline reversed a 0.1% gain in February and an 0.8% jump in January.
The decline was led by the energy sector, which fell 5.5% in March after rising 1.3% in February. The food index also was down, though less sharply than in February, with a decline of 0.7% in March from a 1.6% the previous month. Prices for finished consumer goods less foods and energy was up only 0.1% following a 0.4% advance in February. Prices for all finished goods excluding foods and energy were unchanged following a 0.2% rise in February.
At the earlier stages of processing, intermediate goods prices fell 1.5% after posting a 0.9% decline a month earlier, and the crude goods index dropped 0.3% following a 4.5% decline in February.