WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices fell unexpectedly last month for the first time since February 2017, pulled down by falling prices for transportation and warehousing services. The drop suggests that inflationary pressures may be easing despite the strength of the U.S. economy.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that its producer price index — which measures inflation before it reaches consumers — fell 0.1 percent in August after being flat in July. Producer prices were up 2.8 percent from August 2017.

Wholesale prices for services slid 0.1 percent; prices of goods were flat. Over the past year, goods prices for producers have risen 3.9 percent.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core wholesale inflation also slipped 0.1 percent from July but rose 2.3 percent from July 2017.

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