(Adds details of release, background)
OTTAWA, April 30 (Reuters) - Canadian producer prices increased by 0.8 percent in March from February on higher prices of energy and petroleum products as well as paper and pulp, Statistics Canada said on Monday.
Economists polled by Reuters had predicted a 0.7 percent gain. Of the 21 major commodity groups, prices were up in 16 and down in four, leaving one unchanged.
Energy and petroleum products prices rose by 1.3 percent after a 1.8 percent decline in February, pushed up by demand for gasoline. Prices for pulp and paper products jumped by 3.4 percent, the most since October 2008.
Prices for motorized and recreational vehicles increased by 0.4 percent, thanks largely to a 2.7 percent fall in the value of the Canadian dollar against the greenback in March. Many vehicles are priced in U.S. dollars and become more expensive when the Canadian currency weakens.
The raw materials price index rose by 2.1 percent on higher prices for crude energy products and crops such as cocoa beans, wheat and canola.
Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by Bill Trott