The numbers: U.S. wholesale prices sank 0.5% in December, extending a string of low readings and adding further proof that high inflation is coming down.
It was the biggest decline since April 2020, just as the U.S. economy shut down to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.1% decline.
The low reading gave a small boost to U.S. stocks in premarket trades and sent interest rates on the 10-year Treasury slightly lower.
The increase in wholesale prices over the past 12 months, meanwhile, slowed to 6.2% from 7.3% in the prior month and a peak of 11.7% last spring. That’s the lowest level in nine months.
A separate measure of wholesale prices that strips out volatile food and energy costs edged up 0.1% last month, the government said Wednesday.
The increase in these so-called core prices over the past year decelerated to 4.6% from 4.9%.