Import prices rose in January

Feb. 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. import prices rose in January following two months of declines, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday.

Import prices rose 0.6 percent over December after dropping 0.5 percent in December and 0.7 percent in November. On an annual basis, import prices rose 1.3 percent.

The data was roughly in line with expectations. Economists had predicted a 0.7 percent price change month-to-month.

Fuel import prices roe 2.4 percent in the month, modest compared with August 2012, when fuel prices rose 6.1 percent.

Since January 2012, however, fuel prices have risen five separate months and dropped in seven others. January's gain is also higher than the U.S. Federal Reserves target for inflation of 2 percent annually.

Prices for non-fuel imports rose 0.2 percent in January after dropping 0.1 percent in December and 0.2 percent in November of 2012. That figure is well below the Fed's 2 percent target, as is the index for all imports.

For exports, prices rose 0.3 percent in January from December with a 1.3 percent drop in prices for agricultural exports and a 0.5 percent gain in prices for non-agricultural exports, the bureau said.

The bureau noted there has not been a monthly increase in prices for goods from China since February 2012. The price index for imports from Japan in January dropped 0.2 percent, the largest one-month decline since September 2008.

In the same month, import prices from the European Union rose 1.1 percent month-to-month, the largest one-month gain since March 2011.

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