U.S. Import Prices Rise 0.4% In September, Less Than Expected

U.S. Import Prices Rise 0.4% In September, Less Than Expected

October 18, 2021

Import prices in the U.S. increased by less than expected in the month of September, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday.

The Labor Department said import prices rose by 0.4 percent in September after dipping by 0.3 percent in August. Economists had expected import prices to climb by 0.6 percent.

The increase in import prices reflected a substantial rebound in prices for fuel imports, which spiked by 3.7 percent in September after plunging by 3.0 percent in August.

Meanwhile, prices for non-fuel imports were unchanged in September after edging down by 0.1 percent in the previous month.

The report said lower prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials offset higher prices for foods, feeds, and beverages, consumer goods, and automotive vehicles.

The Labor Department also said export prices inched up by 0.1 percent in September after rising by 0.4 percent in the previous month. Export prices were also expected to increase by 0.6 percent.

The uptick in export prices came as prices for non-agricultural exports rose by 0.3 percent for the second straight month, while prices for agricultural exports tumbled by 1.7 percent in September after climbing by 0.9 percent in August.

The sharp pullback in prices for agricultural exports came as steep drops in prices for soybeans and corn more than offset higher prices for cotton, wheat, fruit, and vegetables.

Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices in September were up by 9.2 percent, while export prices were up by 16.3 percent.

“Looking into Q4, import price inflation likely remains stubbornly elevated amid supply and energy-related price pressures,” said Mahir Rasheed, U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

He added, “Despite the stickiness, the recent moderation in core inflation is a good sign that price dynamics won’t spiral upward.”

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