Import prices up a touch in February

March 14, 2012 at 3:37 PM

WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- U.S. import prices rose 0.4 percent in February following a 0.3 percent downturn in the previous month, the Department of Labor said Wednesday.

The increase was pushed by a 0.25 percent increase in prices for fuel, which were flat in the previous month and down 0.5 percent in December.

On a 12-month basis, fuel prices rose 15.2 percent in February. Petroleum prices as a category are up 18.4 percent the past 12 months.

Import prices excluding fuel were off 0.1 percent in February, canceling out the 0.1 percent gain in January.

Imported food prices in the same period fell 3 percent in February.

Export prices for February for all items also rose 0.4 percent with higher prices for non-agriculture prices offsetting a 0.9 percent drop in the price of agricultural goods.

Export prices for fruits, cotton and vegetables fell 6.8 percent, 7.1 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, in the month. Prices for corn and soybeans, fell 0.2 percent and rose 0.4 percent, respectively, the department said.

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