Energy Prices Take Import Index Higher

An increase in the cost of petroleum in January led to a 1.3% increase in the prices that manufacturers and other consumers paid for imported goods, the U.S. Department of Labor reported on Feb. 16. January's increase follows two consecutive months of declines in the department's U.S. Import Index and was the largest monthly increase since a 2.1% increase in September 2005. In January, prices for imported petroleum increased 6.4%, a sharp contrast to the final three months of 2005, when prices fell 12.3%.

Prices for U.S. exports increased seven-tenths of a percentage point in January, following a tenth-of-a-percent increase in December 2005. The increase was broadly based, with both non-agricultural and agricultural products rising. Among them: a two-tenths percent increase in export prices of capital goods, a category that accounts for just over 40% of all U.S. exports.

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