Rising oil costs pushed up UK factory gate prices last month, official figures have showed.

However economists said overall inflation is still set to ease.

The prices charged by manufacturers increased by 0.6% between February and March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Petroleum products rose 2.4% on the month.

However, core output prices - which exclude volatile items including food, beverages, tobacco and petroleum - edged only 0.1% higher, suggesting manufacturers are pricing competitively to attract business.

Samuel Tombs, UK economist at Capital Economics, said: "Today's UK producer prices figures confirm that cost pressures in the manufacturing sector were strong in March, although they still suggest that consumer price inflation is on course to fall to a low rate later this year."

The consumer prices index (CPI) inflation was 3.4% in February and is forecast by brokers at Investec to remain unchanged for March as higher-than-expected oil prices apply upward pressure.