WASHINGTON — Producer prices increased 0.4% in August due to higher energy prices to post their largest gain since March, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Core producer prices, excluding food and energy goods, rose 0.1%.

Economists expected a gain of 0.3% in producer prices and 0.1% in core prices, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Producer prices rose 0.2% in July, the first increase in four months, while the core rate increased 0.3%.

For the 12 months ending in August, producer prices increased 3.1%. Core prices rose 1.3% for the year ending in August.

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