WASHINGTON — Producer prices pulled back more than economists expected in June as they fell 0.5% to post their third straight monthly decline, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

It was the largest monthly drop since February for the inflation gauge.

Core producer prices, excluding food and energy costs, edged up for the eighth straight month, meeting economist expectations with an increase of 0.1%. Economists expected producer prices to fall 0.1% and core prices to rise 0.1%, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.

For the 12 months ending in June, producer prices were up 2.8% from the same period a year earlier while core prices gained 1.1%. Most of the drop in producer prices was attributed to a 2.2% decline in June prices for consumer foods and to a 0.5% reduction in fuel prices. Among core goods, heavy motor truck prices rose 2.5%, the largest increase in more than three years.

The producer price index is a measure of the average price level for a fixed basket of capital and consumer goods received by producers.

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