Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

U.S. import prices surge in October on petroleum, food

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers browse in a supermarket while wearing masks to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in north St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. April 4, 2020. REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. import prices surged in October as the costs of petroleum products and food increased, adding to signs that inflation could remain high for a while.

Import prices accelerated 1.2% last month after gaining 0.4% in September, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. In the 12 months through October, prices jumped 10.7% after rising 9.3% in September. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, which exclude tariffs, increasing 1.0%.

The government reported last week a broad-based surge in both consumer and producer prices in October. Inflation is being fueled by fiscal stimulus and strained global supply chains related to the nearly two-year long COVID-19 pandemic.

Imported fuel prices soared 8.6% last month after increasing 3.9% in September. Petroleum prices advanced 8.1%, while the cost of imported food rose 0.8%.

Excluding fuel and food, import prices gained 0.3%. These so-called core import prices were unchanged in September and were up 5.0% on a year-on-year basis in October.

The report also showed export prices shot up 1.5% in October after rising 0.4% in September. Prices for agricultural exports rebounded 1.0%. Nonagricultural export prices powered ahead 1.5%. Export prices surged 18.0% year-on-year in October, the biggest increase since the series was first published in September 1983. Prices rose 16.5% from a year ago in September.

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