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Financial News: U.S. Import Prices Drop Less Than Expected In

U.S. Import Prices Drop Less Than Expected In February

03/13/2020 - 10:11:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Primarily reflecting a steep drop in fuel prices, the Labor Department released a report on Friday showing a decrease in U.S. import prices in the month of February.

The Labor Department said import prices fell by 0.5 percent in February after inching up by a revised 0.1 percent in January.

Economists had expected import prices to slump by 0.8 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.

The drop in import prices came as prices for fuel imports plummeted by 7.7 percent in February after falling by 0.6 percent in January, with petroleum prices leading the way lower.

Excluding fuel prices, import prices rose by 0.3 percent in February after edging up by 0.2 percent in the previous month.

Higher prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials, foods, feeds, and beverages, and capital goods all contributed to the February advance.

The report also showed a substantial decrease in export prices, which tumbled by 1.1 percent in February after climbing by a revised 0.6 percent in January.

Export prices had been expected to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.5 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected nosedive in export prices was partly due to a sharp pullback in prices for agricultural exports, which plunged by 2.7 percent in February after jumping by 2.1 percent in January.

The Labor Department said falling prices for vegetables, soybeans, and meat in February more than offset higher fruit prices.

Prices for non-agricultural exports also slumped by 1.0 percent in February after climbing by 0.6 percent in January, with the decrease reflecting lower prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials.

Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices in February were down by 1.2 percent, while export prices were down by 1.3 percent.

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