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U.S. Import Prices Jump 0.9% In August, Much More Than Expected

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Import prices in the U.S. saw another notable increase in the month of August, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Tuesday.

The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.9 percent in August after jumping by an upwardly revised 1.2 percent in July.

Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.5 percent compared to the 0.7 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

The stronger than expected import price growth was partly due to a jump in prices for fuel imports, which surged up by 3.3 percent in August after soaring by 15.1 percent in July. Higher prices for both petroleum and natural gas contributed to the advance.

The report said prices for non-fuel imports also climbed by 0.7 percent in August after edging up by 0.2 percent in July, reflecting the biggest increase since April of 2011. Prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials led the way higher, spiking by 3.6 percent.

The Labor Department said export prices also rose by 0.5 percent in August following an upwardly revised 0.9 percent advance in July.

Export prices were expected to edge up by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.8 percent growth originally reported for the previous month.

The slightly bigger than expected increase in export prices came as rising prices for non-agricultural exports more than offset falling prices for agricultural exports.

Prices for non-agricultural exports climbed by 0.8 percent in August following a 0.9 percent advance in July, led by higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials.

Meanwhile, the report said prices for agricultural exports tumbled by 2.2 percent in August after jumping by 1.6 percent in July. The pullback reflected declining prices for vegetables, corn, and dairy products.

Despite the monthly increases, the Labor Department noted import and export prices were both down compared to the same month a year ago.

Import prices in August were down 1.4 percent year-over-year, while export prices were down by 2.8 percent.

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