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Financial News: U.S. Import Prices Rise 0.4% Amid Another Jump

U.S. Import Prices Rise 0.4% Amid Another Jump In Fuel Prices

02/10/2017 - 09:13:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Reflecting another substantial increase in prices for fuel imports, the Labor Department released a report on Friday showing that U.S. import prices rose by more than expected in the month of January.

The report said import prices increased by 0.4 percent in January after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.5 percent in December.

Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.4 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

With the bigger than expected monthly increase, the annual rate of import price growth surged up to 3.7 percent in January from 1.8 percent in December.

The Labor Department said the year-over-year jump was the largest 12-month increase since prices soared by 5.1 percent in February of 2012.

The monthly increase in import prices came as fuel prices shot up by another 5.8 percent in January after spiking by 6.6 percent in December. Prices for both petroleum and natural gas rose sharply during the month.

On the other hand, the report said prices for non-fuel imports dipped by 0.2 percent in January after edging down by 0.1 percent in each of the two previous months.

The drop was led by lower prices for foods, feeds, and beverages and each of the major finished goods categories, which more than offset higher prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials.

Compared to the same month a year ago, fuel import prices were up by a massive 57.6 percent, while non-fuel import prices were unchanged.

The Labor Department also said export prices inched up by 0.1 percent in January after rising by 0.4 percent in December. The uptick in export prices matched economist estimates.

Prices for non-agricultural exports crept up by 0.1 percent in January after rising by 0.4 percent in the previous month.

The modest increase was led by higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials and automotive vehicles.

Meanwhile, prices for agricultural exports edged down by 0.1 percent in January after slipping by 0.2 percent in December. Falling prices for soybeans more than offset higher prices for corn.

The report said the annual rate of growth in export prices accelerated to 2.3 percent in January from 1.1 percent in December.

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