Import prices in the U.S. increased by less than expected in the month of April, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday, although the report also showed stronger than expected export price growth.
The Labor Department said import prices rose by 0.3 percent in April after edging down by a revised 0.2 percent in March.
Economists had expected import prices to climb by 0.5 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.
The increase in import prices was partly due to a significant rebound in prices for fuel imports, which surged up by 1.3 percent in April after plunging by 2.4 percent in March.
Petroleum prices jumped by 1.6 percent during the month, more than offsetting a 4.4 percent slump in natural gas prices.
Excluding fuel imports, prices for non-fuel imports edged up by 0.2 percent in April after inching up by 0.1 percent in March.
The Labor Department said higher prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials, consumer goods, and automotive vehicles more than offset declining prices for foods, feeds, and beverages.
Meanwhile, the report said export prices increased by 0.6 percent in April after rising by 0.3 percent in March. Export prices had been expected to rise by another 0.3 percent.
The stronger than expected export price growth came as prices for non-agricultural exports climbed by 0.7 percent in April after coming in unchanged in the previous month.
A 1.5 percent jump in prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials drove the increase in prices for non-agricultural exports.
On the other hand, the report said prices for agricultural exports tumbled by 1.2 percent in April after spiking by 3.2 percent in March.
The Labor Department said lower prices for soybeans, nuts, and wheat drove the decrease in prices for agricultural exports.
Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices were up by 3.3 percent in April, while export prices were up by 3.8 percent.