Wholesale prices in the United States rose 6.2% in December from a year earlier, a sixth straight monthly slowdown and a hopeful sign that inflation pressures will continue to cool.
The latest year-over-year figure was down from 7.3% in November and from a recent peak of 11.7% in March. On a monthly basis, the government said Wednesday that its producer price index, which measures costs before they reach consumers, dropped 0.5% from November to December.
The ongoing slowdown in wholesale price growth is adding to evidence that the worst bout of inflation in four decades is steadily easing, though it remains far above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%.
Over the past year, the Fed has rapidly raised its key interest rate in an aggressive drive to cool borrowing and spending and tame inflation, which began surging more than a year and a half ago.
The Fed’s rate hikes have, in turn, led to higher borrowing costs for consumers and businesses. The average mortgage rate is still nearly twice its level a year ago, though it has dipped in recent weeks. Loan costs for auto purchases, credit cards and a range of business borrowing are up sharply, too.