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Prices of food and fuel nudge up producer index

Rebounding wholesale food and fuel prices pushed up the producer price index at a moderate 6.9 percent annual rate in June. The index, seasonally adjusted, was up 0.6 percent in June, the Labor Department said. That is a rise from May's increase of 0.4 percent.

Major influences were renewed increases in the cost of food at the dealers' level, a new swing up for home heating oil, and sharp increases in the cost of natural gas.

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The June rise was the largest since April, when wholesale prices climbed 9.9 percent at an annual rate, but is nevertheless considered only a moderate upward swing, posing no threat of any quick return to double-digit inf lation for shoppers.