US im­port prices in­crease 0.5 per cent on jump in fuel

The La­bor Depart­ment said on Fri­day im­port prices rose 0.5 per cent last month. That was the largest in­crease since May and fol­lowed a re­vised 0.4 per cent de­crease in Au­gust.

Times of Oman - - MARKET -

WASH­ING­TON: US im­port prices jumped faster than ex­pected in Septem­ber amid resur­gent en­ergy prices but prices ex­clud­ing fu­els were un­changed.

The La­bor Depart­ment said on Fri­day im­port prices rose 0.5 per cent last month. That was the largest in­crease since May and fol­lowed a re­vised 0.4 per cent de­crease in Au­gust.

Im­port prices were pre­vi­ously re­ported to have fallen 0.6 per cent in Au­gust. Econ­o­mists polled by Reuters had fore­cast im­port prices ris­ing 0.2 per cent in Septem­ber.

In the 12 months through Septem­ber, im­port prices rose 3.5 per cent af­ter a 3.8 per cent in­crease in the 12 months through Au­gust.

Last month, prices for im­ported fu­els and lu­bri­cants rose 3.8 per cent, the largest in­crease since May, af­ter fall­ing 2.2 per­cent in Au­gust. Food prices ad­vanced 2 per cent in Septem­ber af­ter ris­ing 0.3 per cent in the prior month.

Ex­clud­ing food and fu­els, prices fell 0.1 per cent in Septem­ber. These so-called core prices fell 0.2 per cent in Au­gust and were down in July and June as well.

The weak­ness in core im­port prices likely re­flects on­go­ing dol­lar strength. The dol­lar has gained more than 6 per cent this year against the cur­ren­cies of the United States’ main trade part­ners.

Dol­lar strength is ex­pected to off­set some of an an­tic­i­pated in­crease in prices as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion presses ahead with tar­iffs on nearly all Chi­nese im­ports.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump im­posed tar­iffs on nearly $200 bil­lion of Chi­nese im­ports last month and then threat­ened more levies if China re­tal­i­ated. China then hit back with tar­iffs on about $60 bil­lion of US im­ports.

On Thurs­day, Trump warned there was much more he could do that would hurt China’s econ­omy.

US Trea­sury yields briefly rose af­ter the data. The dol­lar was trad­ing slightly higher.

The im­port price data ex­cludes du­ties. In Septem­ber, im­port prices for non­fuel in­dus­trial sup­plies and ma­te­ri­als fell 0.4 per cent af­ter fall­ing 0.9 per cent in Au­gust. The cost of im­ported cap­i­tal goods was un­changed.

Im­ported mo­tor ve­hi­cle prices were also un­changed in Septem­ber and have been vir­tu­ally un­changed since May. The cost of con­sumer goods ex­clud­ing au­to­mo­biles fell 0.1 per cent af­ter be­ing un­changed in Au­gust.

Prices for goods im­ported from China fell 0.1 per cent in Septem­ber for the third con­sec­u­tive month. Prices for Chi­nese im­ports were up 0.4 per cent in the 12 months through Septem­ber. The re­port also showed ex­port prices were un­changed in Septem­ber af­ter de­clin­ing 0.2 per cent in Au­gust. Prices for agri­cul­tural prod­ucts fell 1.4 per cent last month, with prices for oilseeds and grains fall­ing 6.9 per cent.

- Reuters file pic­ture

UPTREND SEEN: Econ­o­mists polled by Reuters had fore­cast im­port prices ris­ing 0.2 per cent in Septem­ber.

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