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U.S. Import Prices Drop, Export Prices Rise

By John S. McClenahen As expected, prices paid on goods imported into the U.S. fell in September, with the U.S. Labor Department reporting that its U.S. Import Price Index declined half a percentage point last month. The decline came after three consecutive months of increases and was led by lower petroleum prices. The price index for imported petroleum decreased 5.2% in September, and that was enough to more than offset a 0.2% increase in prices for non-petroleum imports. As import prices were falling in September, U.S. export prices were rising. Export prices were up 0.4% last month, their first increase since May. The September increase in overall export prices was paced by a 5.5% increase in the prices for agricultural exports, the biggest monthly increase since the Labor Department began publishing its monthly export index in 1989. Prices for non-agricultural exports fell 0.1% in September, resuming a recent trend of falling prices after a 0.1% rise in August.

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