U.S. import prices inched up 0.1 percent in January

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Prices of imported goods in the U.S. climbed modestly last month, which marks the second consecutive month for goods and services coming into the country to record higher prices.

Import prices rose 0.1 percent in January following a revised figure for December of a 0.2 percent rise, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday. Economists forecast import prices to fall by 0.1 percent from the previous month’s reading that was initially reported as unchanged.

Despite the increase, import prices in January were lower 1.5 percent year over year. Lower import prices, which typically suggests weak overseas demand, have maintained the country’s inflation under the 2 percent annual target by the Federal Reserve.

The slight rise in import prices was driven by the 0.3 percent increase in non-fuel imports in January after falling 0.1 percent in the preceding month, their biggest gain since March 2012.

Higher prices for foods and beverages, capital goods, consumer goods as well as non-fuel industrial supplies and materials offset a fall in prices of automotive vehicles. Prices of petroleum imports was 1.2 percent lower in January from the previous month.

The report also showed that export prices climbed by 0.2 percent in January after December’s 0.4 percent increase. Analysts expected export prices to rise by 0.1 percent.

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