WASHINGTON - The producer price index for finished goods was unchanged in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Prices for finished goods excluding foods and energy increased 0.3% and the index for finished consumer foods advanced 0.2%. These gains were offset by a 1.0% decline in prices for finished energy goods. In February PPI rose an unrevised 0.4%.

Core producer prices, excluding food and energy, were up 0.3%, after rising an unrevised 0.2% the previous month.

The unchanged level of the producer price index in March was off from the 0.3% increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and the core price index increase was higher than their estimated median gain of 0.2%.

Year-over-year the overall PPI was up 2.8%.  Core producer prices, year-over-year, were up 2.9%.

While finished goods prices remained unchanged, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods climbed 0.7% and the crude goods price index fell 2.5%.

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