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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Fuel costs drive US prices higher
US driver filling car with petrol
US gas prices have risen to levels not seen since October last year
Surging fuel prices pushed US wholesale prices higher in March, after falling a month earlier, official figures show.

The Labor Department's producer price index (PPI) jumped 0.5% in March, its fastest rise in three months.

But core producer prices, which strip out volatile energy and food prices, rose by 0.1% - its smallest increase in four months.

A 9.1% surge in gasoline (petrol) prices was the main driver of the increase, the department added.

Experts warned US shoppers could expect the situation to worsen in coming months as crude prices have now climbed to new records above $70 a barrel.

Oil prices have hit new highs this week amid concerns over rising tension between the US and Iran over its nuclear programme and concerns over supplies from Nigeria.

Latest figures from the Energy Department show retail petrol prices rose 10 cents in the past week to stand at an average $2.83 a gallon - up almost 29% since last November.

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