Import prices in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of December, the Labor Department revealed in a report released on Thursday. The report said import prices climbed by 0.3 percent in December after inching up by a revised 0.1 percent in November. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.2 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month. The increase in import prices came amid a continued spike in prices for fuel imports, which surged up by 2.8 percent in December after jumping by 1.3 percent in November. Excluding fuel imports, import prices came in unchanged in December after edging down by 0.1 percent in the previous month. Declining prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials offset higher prices for foods, feeds, and beverages and finished goods. The Labor Department noted prices for non-fuel imports have not risen on a monthly basis since a 0.1 percent uptick last February. Meanwhile, the report said export prices dipped by 0.2 percent in December after rising by 0.2 percent in November. Export prices had been expected to show another 0.2 percent increase. The unexpected drop in export prices came as prices for agricultural and non- agricultural exports both edged down by 0.1 percent. Prices for agricultural exports pulled back after jumping by 2.2 percent in November, as decreasing prices for soybeans, fruit, and vegetables more than offset higher meat prices. The dip in prices for non-agricultural prices, which followed no change in the previous month, reflected lower prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials, automotive vehicles, and consumer goods. Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices in December were up by 0.5 percent, while export prices were down by 0.7 percent. Source- Nasdaq.com
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