U.S. producer prices were flat in August, pointing to benign inflation pressures that could weigh on the Federal Reserve's decision whether to hike interest rates next week.
The unchanged reading in the producer price index last month followed a 0.2 percent gain in July, the Labor Department said on Friday. The drag on producer prices from lower crude oil prices and a strong dollar was offset by an increase in profit margins for apparel, footwear and accessories retailing.
In the 12 months through August, the PPI fell 0.8 percent after a similar decline in July. It was the seventh straight 12-month decrease in the index.
Tame inflation despite a rapidly tightening labor market poses a dilemma for Fed officials who are contemplating raising rates for the first time in nearly a decade.
The U.S. central bank's policy-setting committee meets on Sept. 16-17.
The likelihood of a lift-off in the Fed's benchmark overnight interest rate has been diminished by recent financial market volatility, which was sparked by concerns over China's economy.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the PPI dipping 0.1 percent last month and falling 0.9 percent from a year ago.
Producer inflation is likely to remain muted in the near term after a report on Thursday showed import prices fell 1.8 percent in August, the largest drop since January.