WASHINGTON: U.S. import prices rose in September, with prices outside petroleum products posting strong gains, suggesting a weakening dollar was lifting imported inflation.
The Labor Department said on Thursday import prices increased 0.3per cent last month. Data for August was revised up to show import prices increasing 1.0per cent instead of 0.9per cent as previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, which exclude tariffs, rising 0.3per cent in September. In the 12 months through September, import prices fell 1.1per cent after decreasing 1.4per cent in August.
Petroleum prices fell 4.2per cent last month. Excluding petroleum, import prices increased 0.7per cent. That followed a 0.8per cent jump in August. The dollar declined 5.6per cent against the currencies of the United States' main trade partners between April and September.
The strong rise in ex-petroleum import prices together with a strong increase in producer prices in September suggests that a recent slowdown in consumer inflation was unlikely to translate into falling prices.
Imported food prices increased 0.8per cent last month. The cost of goods imported from China were unchanged after edging up 0.1per cent in August. Prices were flat year-on-year in September.
Last month, prices for imported capital goods ticked up 0.1per cent. The cost of imported motor vehicles rose 0.2per cent. Prices for consumer goods excluding autos gained 0.1per cent.
The report also showed export prices rose 0.6per cent in September, lifted by gain in nonagricultural and agricultural goods. That followed a 0.5per cent increase in August. Export prices fell 1.8per cent on a year-on-year basis in September after declining 2.7per cent in August.
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)