Import prices in the U.S. saw a modest increase in the month of November, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Tuesday, while the report also showed export prices climbed much more than expected.
The Labor Department said import prices inched up by 0.1 percent in November after edging down by 0.1 percent in October. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.3 percent.
The uptick in import prices reflected a spike in prices for fuel imports, which soared by 4.3 percent in November after falling by 0.9 percent in October. Higher prices for both natural gas and petroleum contributed to the rebound.
Excluding fuel imports, import prices fell by 0.3 percent in November after inching up by 0.1 percent in the previous month.
Non-fuel import prices declined for the first time since April, as lower prices for foods, feeds, and beverages, non-fuel industrial supplies and materials and automotive vehicles more than offset higher prices for capital goods.
Meanwhile, the report said export prices advanced by 0.6 percent in November after rising by 0.2 percent in October. Export prices were expected to increase by 0.3 percent.
The bigger than expected increase in export prices came as prices for agricultural exports continued to skyrocket, jumping by 3.7 percent in November after surging up by 3.4 percent in October.
Prices for agricultural exports showed their biggest increase since December of 2018, reflecting a 7.6 percent spike in price for both soybeans and corn as well as higher prices for dairy products and eggs, vegetables, wheat, fruit, meat, and cotton.
The report said prices for non-agricultural exports also rose by 0.3 percent in November after edging down by 0.1 percent in October.
Higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials, automotive vehicles, and non-agricultural foods more than offset lower prices for consumer goods and capital goods.
Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices in November were down by 1.0 percent, unchanged from October. The annual decrease in export prices slowed to 1.1 percent from 1.6 percent.
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