Wholesale prices rise 0.5% in February as energy costs jump

WASHINGTON — Rising wholesale prices moderated a bit in February after a record jump in January, with both months beset by rising energy prices.

The Labor Department’s producer price index, which measures inflation before it reaches consumers. increased by 0.5% last month following a record jump of 1.3% the month before.

Price increases slowed despite a 6% surge in energy last month, which followed a 5.1% jump in January.

The smaller overall increase in February is likely to calm fears about inflation getting out of control, which has driven interest rates on bonds higher in recent weeks.

Over the past year, wholesale prices are up 2.8%, above the Federal Reserve’s 2% goal for inflation, while core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, was up a modest 0.2% in February and 2.5% over the past year.