US import prices rose 0.3% in April, vs 0.5% increase expected

U.S. import prices increased less than expected in April as a rebound in the cost of petroleum products was tempered by a decline in food prices.

The Labor Department said on Friday import prices rose 0.3 percent last month. Data for March was revised to show import prices falling 0.2 percent instead of being unchanged as previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices rising 0.5 percent in April. In the 12 months through April, import prices increased 3.3 percent, matching March’s gain.

Last month, prices for imported petroleum rebounded 1.6 percent after declining 2.2 percent in March. Excluding petroleum, import prices edged up 0.1 percent in April after being unchanged in the prior month. Import prices excluding petroleum rose 1.7 percent in the 12 months through April.

The cost of imported food fell 0.4 percent in April, declining for a second straight month, while prices for imported capital goods were unchanged. The cost of imported motor vehicles nudged up 0.1 percent. Prices of consumer goods excluding automobiles gained 0.1 percent.

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