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US wholesale prices surged 0.5 percent in August, led by a huge jump in energy prices and a smaller rise in food costs, the Labor Department reported. But excluding volatile energy and food categories, the so-called core rate of inflation at the wholesale level actually fell 0.1 percent in August, after being unchanged in July. That was better than many analysts had expected. The August increase in the producer price index followed a 0.2 percent rise in July. Wholesale prices actually fell 0.1 percent in June.

Another high-profile bank confirmed that it may be linked to the alleged laundering of billions of dollars in financial aid by Russian government officials, organized-crime figures, and businessmen. Deutsche Bank AG, Germany's largest, said it had notified prosecutors of suspicious financial transfers, but declined to provide additional details. Dresdner Bank, the third-largest in Germany, also reportedly has informed prosecutors of suspicious transfers by persons and institutions under investigation in the matter.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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