The numbers: Wholesale prices rose a sharp 0.8% in February and signaled that the hottest U.S. inflation in 40 years is unlikely to cool off in the spring.
Wall Street economists had forecast a 0.9% increase.
The increase in wholesale prices over the past year stayed at 10% for the second month in a row, the government said Tuesday.
Wholesale prices reflect what businesses pay for supplies such as grains, metals, lumber, packaging, computer chips and so forth. Higher costs tend to translate into rising prices for customers and more inflation.
Big picture: The biggest surge in inflation since the early 1980s spells trouble for businesses and consumers.
The Federal Reserve plans to raise interest rates on Wednesday for the first time in four years to try to tamp down price increases, a move that will raise costs for auto loans, mortgages and other credit.
Economists say high inflation is expected to persist through the summer before starting to wane, but that assumes the war in Ukraine doesn’t get any worse. The conflict has sent the price of oil, wheat and other business supplies surging again.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
were set to slightly higher in Tuesday trades. Stocks have been under pressure since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and pending rate hikes by the Fed.