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Financial News: U.S. Import Prices Jump 1.3% In February Amid

U.S. Import Prices Jump 1.3% In February Amid Continued Spike In Fuel Prices

03/16/2021 - 09:48:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - With fuel prices continuing to skyrocket, the Labor Department released a report on Tuesday showing another jump in U.S. import prices in the month of February.

The report showed import prices increased by 1.3 percent in February after surging up by 1.4 percent in January. Economists had expected import prices to climb by 1.2 percent.

Prices for fuel imports led the way higher once again, spiking by 11.1 percent in February after soaring by 9.0 percent in January. Prices for petroleum and natural gas both showed substantial growth.

Excluding fuel imports, import prices rose by 0.4 percent in February following a 0.9 percent advance in the previous month.

The uptick reflected higher prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials, foods, feeds, and beverages, capital goods, consumer goods, and automotive vehicles.

Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices in February were up by 3.0 percent, reflecting the biggest year-over-year jump since October of 2018.

"Recovering commodity prices and strong base effects are set to continue to boost import prices in the near term," said Kathy Bostjancic, Chief U.S. Financial Economist at Oxford Economics. "Yet the rise should be transient and import costs have just a moderate impact on wider prices."

The Labor Department said export prices also shot up by 1.6 percent in February following a 2.5 percent spike in January. Export prices were expected to increase by 0.9 percent.

The bigger than expected increase in export prices was partly due to a jump in prices for agricultural exports, which surged up by 1.6 percent in February after soaring by 2.5 percent in January.

Higher prices for corn, fruit, soybeans, cotton, dairy products, meat, and wheat more than offset lower nut prices.

Prices for non-agricultural exports also advanced by 1.5 percent in February after jumping by 2.2 percent in the previous month.

The increase reflected higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials, capital goods, consumer goods, and automotive vehicles.

Export prices in February were up by 5.2 percent year-over-year, showing the strongest annual growth since June of 2018.

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