Led by 3.9% advance in petroleum prices, the U.S. Labor Departments Import Price Index rose eight-tenths of a percentage point in February. The increase was just slightly above the seven-tenths percent increase that economists generally expected. In January, the import price index increased seven-tenths of a percent. Non-petroleum import prices rose two-tenths of a percentage point in February, their fourth consecutive monthly increase. Among the items carrying higher price tags: food, feed, beverages, consumer goods, and non-petroleum industrial supplies and materials. Prices of imported autos and capital goods were unchanged in February, however.
On the export side of U.S. trade, the Labor Departments price index was unchanged in February, a sharp contrast to a nine-tenths of a percent increase in January. Decreasing agricultural pricesthey were down nine-tenths of a percentage pointoffset a one-tenth of a percentage increase in prices for industrial supplies and materials and other non-agricultural exports.