THE ECONOMY

THE ECONOMY

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

EXPECTED TO RISE 0.1 PERCENTThe U.S. Producer Price Index is expected to be up 0.1 percent in March, with the core rate up 0.2 percent, based on lower energy prices and higher food costs, according to the average estimate from economists surveyed by Knight-Ridder Financial News.

However, the estimates for the PPI from 15 economists were in a wide range, from down 0.1 percent to up 0.4 percent. For the core rate, which excludes food and energy components, estimates ranged from up 0.1 percent to up 0.5 percent.

February producer prices were unchanged from January's overall increase of 1.8 percent. The February core rate rose 0.4 percent.

The March producer price report will be released by the Labor Department on Friday.