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US producer prices dip 0.1 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The prices companies receive for their goods and services fell slightly in February, the latest sign that inflation is tame.

The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, dropped 0.1 percent in February. That's the first decline since November. A sharp fall in the price markups by wholesalers and retailers pushed down the index.

Wholesale food and energy prices increased, as did the cost of pharmaceuticals. Excluding the volatile categories of food, energy and retailer and wholesaler profit margins, core prices ticked up 0.1 percent.

The figures underscore that inflation remains largely in check. Businesses have struggled to raise prices because of historically high levels of unemployment and meager wage growth. That's made it harder for consumers to pay more.

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