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U.S. Import And Export Prices Climb More Than Expected In February

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A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed U.S. import and export prices both rose by more than anticipated in the month of February.

The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6 percent in February after inching up by a revised 0.1 percent in January.

Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.5 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

The bigger than expected increase in import prices came as prices for fuel imports surged up by 4.9 percent in February, extending the 4.1 percent spike in January.

The jump in prices for fuel imports, which was largest monthly advance since last May, reflected higher prices for both petroleum and natural gas.

Excluding fuel imports, prices for non-fuel imports showed no change in February after falling by 0.3 percent in the previous month.

The Labor Department said rising prices for consumer goods and non-fuel industrial supplies and materials offset declining prices for foods, feeds, and beverages and capital goods.

The report said export prices also increased by 0.6 percent in February after falling by a revised 0.5 percent in January.

Export prices had been expected to tick up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.6 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.

Prices for agricultural exports showed a modest rebound, rising by 0.3 percent in February after tumbling by 2.1 percent in January.

The Labor Department said prices for non-agricultural exports also climbed by 0.7 percent in February after slipping by 0.3 percent in January, reflecting higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials.

Despite the monthly increase, import prices in February were down by 1.3 percent compared to the same month a year ago amid a 6.5 percent nosedive in fuel import prices and a 0.6 percent drop in non-fuel import prices.

Meanwhile, the report said exports prices were up by 0.3 percent year-over-year, as a 0.3 percent increase in non-agricultural export prices more than offset a 0.2 percent decrease in prices for agricultural exports.

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