The cost of producing finished foods jumped 3.9pc last month from a year earlier, as harsh winter weather exacerbated the already increasing price of many basic ingredients used in food. The increase was the steepest since November 1974.
With oil prices having spiked on the political upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East, energy costs were 3.3pc higher in the month, according to a report on producer prices from the Labor Department.
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, insists these sharp rises in costs will prove transitory and will not spiral into a broader price increases across the economy. Core producer prices, which strip out food and energy, climbed just 0.2pc in the month and were down from January’s level.