WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Producer prices rose more than expected in May as gasoline prices rebounded, but underlying inflation pressures remained muted, which could argue against an early scaling back of monetary stimulus by the Federal Reserve.
The Labor Department said on Friday its seasonally adjusted producer price index increased 0.5 percent last month also as food prices bounced back. Wholesale prices had declined 0.7 percent in April.
A Reuters survey of economists had forecast prices received by the nation's farms, factories and refineries nudging up 0.1 percent last month.
In the 12 months through May, wholesale prices accelerated 1.7 percent after rising 0.6 percent.
Despite the pick-up last month, underlying price pressures remain muted and modest domestic demand makes it difficult for producers to pass on increased costs to consumers.
Wholesale prices excluding volatile food and energy costs ticked up 0.1 percent for a second straight month. In the 12 months through May, the so-called core PPI advanced 1.7 percent after rising by the same margin in April and March.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)