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U.S. Import Prices Climb More Than Expected, Export Price Growth Also Exceeds Estimates

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Import and export prices in the U.S. both increased by more than expected in the month of July, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said import prices climbed by 0.7 percent in July after surging up by 1.4 percent in June. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.4 percent.

The bigger than expected increase in export prices came as prices for fuel imports soared by 6.9 percent in July after skyrocketing by 21.9 percent in June.

The Labor Department said a 7.8 percent jump in petroleum prices more than offset a 9.1 percent slump in natural gas prices.

Excluding fuel imports, import prices edged up by 0.2 percent in July after rising by 0.3 percent in June. The uptick reflected higher prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials, capital goods, and consumer goods.

The Labor Department said export prices also advanced by 0.8 percent in July following a 1.2 percent jump in June.

Economists had expected export prices to climb by 0.6 percent compared to the 1.4 percent spike originally reported for the previous month.

Prices for agricultural exports led the way higher, jumping by 1.5 percent for the second straight month. Rising prices for soybeans, dairy products, corn, vegetables, cotton, and fruit more than offset falling prices for meat, nuts, and wheat.

The report said prices for non-agricultural exports also climbed by 0.7 percent in July after surging up by 1.2 percent in June. The increase was primarily driven by prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials.

Despite the monthly increases, import and exports prices in July were down by 3.3 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively, compared to the same month a year ago.

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