WASHINGTON,: U.S. import prices rebounded modestly in November and the underlying trend remained soft, consistent with subdued imported inflation pressures.
The Labor Department said on Friday import prices increased 0.2per cent last month, lifted by higher prices for petroleum products, after an unrevised 0.5per cent decline in October.
Import prices exclude tariffs. Last month's increase in import prices was in line with economists' expectations.
In the 12 months through November, import prices decreased 1.3per cent after dropping 3.0per cent in October. Inflation has been mixed, with data this week showing a solid rise in consumer prices in November, but no change in producer prices.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept interest rates steady and signaled borrowing costs were likely to remain unchanged at least through next year amid expectations the economy would continue to grow modestly and the unemployment rate remain low.
In November, prices for imported fuels and lubricants increased 2.6per cent after falling 2.5per cent in the prior month. Petroleum prices rebounded 1.1per cent after decreasing 3.3per cent in October. Imported food prices fell 0.3per cent, matching October's drop.
Excluding fuels and food, import prices eased 0.1per cent last month. The so-called core import prices slipped 0.2per cent in October. Core import prices declined 1.3per cent in the 12 months through November.
The cost of imported capital goods fell 0.3per cent in November. The price of imported motor vehicles and parts ticked up 0.1per cent last month. Prices for imported consumer goods excluding automobiles were unchanged.
The cost of goods imported from China fell 0.1per cent in November after a similar drop in October. Prices declined 1.7per cent in the 12 months through November.
The report also showed export prices gained 0.2per cent in November after dipping 0.1per cent in October. Export prices decreased 1.3per cent on a year-on-year basis in November after falling 2.3per cent in October.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)