U.S. producer prices dropped in April

There was a drop in U.S. producer prices in April, according to a Labor Department report released on Thursday.

The news is another sign of persistently low inflation.

The producer price index for final demand dropped 0.4 percent in April after gaining 0.2 percent in March.

Core prices, which excludes volatile food and energy categories, fell 0.2 percent.

Excluding food, energy and trade services, the index climbed 0.1 percent.

According to The Wall Street Journal, economists had forecast a 0.1 percent rise in overall and core prices.

Compared to last year, overall producer prices are down 1.3 percent, while core prices are 0.8 percent higher.

The producer price index has fallen steadily because of the plunge in energy prices and a strong US dollar.

Producer energy prices in April decreased 2.9 percent from March and are 24 percent lower year-over-year.

Food prices declined 0.9 percent in April, and are down 4.2 percent on the year.

Federal Reserve officials are closely monitoring inflation and labor-market reports as they decide when it will be appropriate to hike rates for the first time in nine years.