Separate figures have shown that US consumers went on a spending spree in November, but there was also a bigger than expected rise in wholesale prices.

The Commerce Department said US retail sales rose 1.2% compared with the previous month, a much bigger gain than the 0.6% expected  by Wall Street analysts. Excluding car sales, the rise was 1.8%.

The rise in overall retail sales was the biggest since May and excluding cars was the sharpest since January 2006. The report contrasted with fears of a slowdown in consumer  spending, which accounts for two-thirds of US economic activity.

Meanwhile the Labor Department said US wholesale prices soared 3.2% in November, the biggest gain in more three decades, as energy prices posted a record increase.

The sharp rise in the producer price index  (PPI), which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, widely surpassed analysts' consensus forecast of a 1.5% increase in November. It was the biggest monthly gain since August 1973, before  then-president Richard Nixon imposed price controls. The core PPI, excluding energy and food prices, rose 0.4%.

Energy prices jumped a record 14.1% in the month, topping the record set just ahead of the 1990 Gulf War. The rise followed a  0.8% decrease in October. Petrol prices rose a record 34.8% and home heating oil prices rose 31.5%.