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U.S. import prices fall in December on petroleum products

Economic IndicatorsJan 14, 2022 09:01AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. consumer prices rose solidly in December, with the annual increase in inflation the largest in nearly four decades, Shoppers show up early for the Black Friday sales at the King of Prussia shopping mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, U

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. import prices unexpectedly fell in December amid a decline in the cost of petroleum products, adding to signs that the worst of high inflation was probably over.

Import prices dropped 0.2% last month, the first decrease since August, after increasing 0.7% in November, the Labor Department said on Friday. In the 12 months through December, prices rose 10.4% after advancing 11.7% in November.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, which exclude tariffs, gaining 0.3%.

The government reported on Thursday that producer prices rose just 0.2% in December, the smallest increase since November 2020. Hopes that inflation has peaked or is close to doing so where boosted by a moderation in China's producer prices in December. Economists expect slower Chinese PPI will eventually show up in the U.S. prices. Supply chains are also improving.

Imported fuel prices declined 6.5% last month after rising 2.3% in November. Petroleum prices fell 6.0%, while the cost of imported food increased 0.5%.

Excluding fuel and food, import prices rose 0.5%. These so-called core import prices advanced 0.6% in November. They increased 5.7% on a year-on-year basis in December.

The report also showed export prices tumbled 1.8% in December after rising 0.8% in November. Prices for agricultural exports rose 0.8%. Nonagricultural export prices dropped 2.1%.

Export prices increased 14.7% year-on-year in December. That followed a 18.2% annual surge in November.

U.S. import prices fall in December on petroleum products
 

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