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U.S. Import Prices Edge Up 0.2% In April, Much Less Than Expected

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With a drop in prices for non-fuel imports partly offsetting another jump in prices for fuel imports, the Labor Department released a report on Tuesday showing U.S. import prices rose by much less than expected in the month of April.

The Labor Department said import prices crept up by 0.2 percent in April after climbing by 0.6 percent in March. Economists had expected import prices to increase by 0.7 percent.

The uptick in import prices reflected a continued spike in prices for fuel imports, which surged up by 2.5 percent in April after soaring by 6.9 percent in March. A 6.1 percent jump in petroleum prices drove the increase in fuel prices.

On the other hand, the report said prices for non-fuel imports edged down by 0.1 percent in April after dipping by 0.2 percent in March.

Falling prices for finished goods and non-fuel industrial supplies and materials more than offset an increase in prices for foods, feeds, and beverages.

The Labor Department said export prices also rose by 0.2 percent in April following a 0.6 percent increase in the previous month. Export prices had been expected to climb by 0.5 percent.

Prices for non-agricultural exports increased by 0.4 percent in April after advancing by 0.7 percent in March, reflecting higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials and automotive vehicles.

Meanwhile, the report said prices for agricultural exports tumbled by 1.5 percent in April following a 1.0 percent jump in March. Vegetable prices showed a particularly steep 17.2 percent nosedive.

Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices in April dipped by 0.2 percent, as a 0.9 percent drop in prices for non-fuel imports more than offset a 6.9 percent spike in prices for fuel imports.

Export prices were up by 0.3 percent year-over-year amid a 0.7 percent increase in prices for non-agricultural exports and a 2.8 percent slump in prices for agricultural exports.

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