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U.S. Import Prices Surge 2.6% As Fuel Prices Continue To Skyrocket

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With prices for fuel imports continuing to skyrocket, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing U.S. import prices surged by more than expected in the month of March.

The report showed import prices spiked by 2.6 percent in March after jumping by an upwardly revised 1.6 percent in February.

Economists had expected import prices to shoot up by 2.3 percent compared to the 1.4 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Prices for fuel imports led the way higher, skyrocketing by 14.6 percent in March after spiking by 10.0 percent in February.

However, prices for non-fuel imports still jumped by 1.2 percent in March after climbing by 0.7 percent in February, reflecting higher prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials, capital goods, consumer goods, and foods, feeds, and beverages.

The report showed the annual rate of import price growth accelerated to 12.5 percent in March, reflecting the fastest growth since September 2011.

“We look for the deceleration in import price inflation to unfold gradually over the course of 2022 as high consumer price inflation, stronger services spending, and the normalization of monetary and fiscal policy work to restrain robust goods demand,” said Mahir Rasheed, U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

He added, “However, risks remain tilted to the upside given uncertainty over the path ahead for energy prices and insufficient progress on the production front, especially as pandemic woes in China threaten to reaggravate supply stress.”

The Labor Department said export prices also soared by 4.5 percent in March after spiking by 3.0 percent in February. Export prices were expected to jump by 2.2 percent.

The bigger than expected surge came as prices for agricultural exports and non-agricultural exports shot up by 4.7 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

Compared to the same month a year ago, export prices in March were up by 18.8 percent, reflecting the biggest annual increase since 12-month percent changes were first published in September 1984.

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