WASHINGTON - The producer price index fell 0.1% in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The decrease followed a 0.3% increase in the index for November.

Core producer prices, excluding food and energy, rose 0.3% after a 0.1% rise the month before.

The December decline in the price index defied the 0.1% gain projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and the core price index increase was greater than their median 0.1% estimated gain.

The decrease in the December PPI was the result of drops in the prices of foods and energy goods, which were both down 0.8%.

Year-over-year the overall PPI was up 4.8%.  Core year-over-year producer prices were up 3.0%, the largest change since core year-over-year prices were up 3.3% in June 2009.

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