Import prices in the U.S. fell by more than expected in the month of April, the Labor Department revealed in a report released on Thursday, with the drop largely due to lower fuel prices.
The Labor Department said import prices fell by 0.5 percent in April after surging up by 1.5 percent in March. Economists had expected prices to edge down by about 0.2 percent.
The bigger than expected drop in import prices was largely due to a 2.1 percent decrease in prices for fuel imports, which jumped by 4.4 percent in the previous month.
A 14.1 percent drop in drop in natural gas prices contributed to the decrease in overall fuel prices along with a 1.8 percent decline in petroleum prices.
Excluding the drop in fuel prices, import prices actually edged up by 0.1 percent in April following a 0.5 percent increase in March.
The modest increase reflected higher prices for imports of non-fuel industrial supplies and materials, automotive vehicles, consumer goods, and foods, feeds, and beverages
Meanwhile, the report showed that export prices rose by 0.4 percent in April following a 0.8 percent increase in March. Export prices had been expected to increase by about 0.2 percent.
The increase in export prices was partly due to a 2.0 percent increase in prices for agricultural exports, which followed a 2.5 percent increase in March.
The Labor Department said the increase in agricultural exports was led by a 7.4 percent increase in soybean prices.
Prices for non-agricultural exports rose by 0.2 percent in April following a 0.5 percent increase in March.
Higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials, as well as automotive vehicles, more than offset lower prices for consumer goods.
The report showed that overall import prices rose by 0.5 percent compared to the same month a year ago, while overall exports prices rose by 0.7 percent year-over-year.
by RTT Staff Writer
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