The Labor Department said on Tuesday the unchanged reading in
import prices last month followed an upwardly revised 0.1
percent drop in June. Import prices were previously reported to
have declined 0.4 percent in June.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices gaining
0.1 percent in July.
In the 12 months through July, import prices rose 4.8 percent,
the largest gain since February 2012, after increasing 4.7
percent in June
Last month, prices for imported fuels and lubricants jumped 1.6
percent after rising 1.3 percent in June. Food prices dropped
1.8 percent after declining 2.6 percent in June. Excluding fuels
and food, import prices slipped 0.1 percent in July after
falling 0.2 percent in the prior month.
The so-called core import prices increased 1.6 percent in the 12
months through July. The monthly drop in core import prices
likely reflects the dollar's 0.5 percent appreciation against
the currencies of the United States' main trading partners in
The dollar has gained more than 4 percent on a trade-weighted
basis so far this year, which could temper the anticipated
increases in the prices of some imported goods as a result of
trade tensions between the United States and major economies.
Import prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials
tumbled 1.0 percent in July, the biggest monthly drop since
January 2016, after rising 0.2 percent in June. The cost of
imported capital goods dipped 0.1 percent after a similar drop
Imported motor vehicle prices were unchanged. The cost of
consumer goods excluding automobiles rose 0.3 percent after
dropping 0.3 percent in June.
Prices for goods imported from China fell 0.2 percent in July,
the first drop since September 2017, after edging up 0.1 percent
in the prior month. Prices for Chinese imports rose 0.2 percent
in the 12 months through July.
The report also showed export prices fell 0.5 percent in July
after rising 0.2 percent in June. Prices for agricultural
products fell 5.3 percent last month, weighed down by a 14.1
percent plunge in soybean prices.
Export prices increased 4.3 percent on a year-on-year basis in
July after rising 5.3 percent in June.
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
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