Import prices in the U.S. fell by much more than expected in the month of August, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday.
The Labor Department said import prices dropped by 0.6 percent in August after edging down by a revised 0.1 percent in July.
Economists had expected import prices to dip by 0.2 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.
The bigger the expected decrease in import prices was partly due to a sharp drop in prices for fuel imports, which plunged by 3.9 percent in August after jumping by 1.0 percent in July.
Petroleum prices tumbled by 3.9 percent in August after increasing in each of the previous four months, while natural gas prices slumped by 6.3 percent.
The report also said prices for non-fuel imports edged down by 0.1 percent in August after falling by 0.3 percent in July.
Falling prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials and capital goods prices more than offset an increase in prices for foods, feeds, and beverages.
The Labor Department also said export prices slipped by 0.1 percent in August after falling by 0.5 percent in July. Export prices had been expected to come in unchanged.
The modest drop in export prices came as lower prices for non-agricultural exports more than offset higher prices for agricultural exports.
Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices were up by 3.7 percent in August, while export prices were up by 3.6 percent.