Reflecting a substantial rebound in fuel prices, the Labor Department released a report on Friday showing a much bigger than expected increase in U.S. import prices in the month of September.
The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.5 percent in September after falling by a revised 0.4 percent in August.
Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.6 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.
The bigger than expected increase in import prices came as prices for fuel imports surged up by 3.8 percent in September after tumbling by 2.2 percent in August. The rebound came as a spike in petroleum prices more than offset lower natural gas prices.
Excluding the rebound in fuel prices, import prices showed no change in September after edging down by 0.2 percent in August.
Higher prices for foods, feeds, and beverages offset decreases in prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials and consumer goods.
Meanwhile, the report said export prices came in unchanged in September after slipping by a revised 0.2 percent in August.
Export prices had also been expected to increase by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.1 percent dip originally reported for the previous month.
The Labor Department said prices for agricultural exports slumped by 1.4 percent in September after rising by 0.3 percent in August, reflecting a continued decrease in soybean prices.
The drop in prices for agricultural exports was offset by a rebound in prices for non-agricultural exports, which rose by 0.2 percent after falling by 0.2 percent in August.
The rebound reflected higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials, capital goods, automotive vehicles, and non-agricultural foods
Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices were up by 3.5 percent in September, while export prices were up by 2.7 percent.