U.S. import prices increase solidly in April

FILE PHOTO: People shop at Macy’s Department store in New York City, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. import prices increased solidly in April, the latest sign of inflation ramping up as the economy reopens.

Import prices rose 0.7% last month after surging 1.4% in March, the Labor Department said on Friday. The sixth straight monthly gain lifted the year-on-year increase to 10.6%, the largest rise since October 2011. Import prices advanced 7.0% on a year-on-year basis in March.

Part of the jump in the year-on-year prices reflected the dropping of last spring’s weak readings from the calculation.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, which exclude tariffs, increasing 0.6%.

The report followed on the heels of data this week showing big gains in producer and consumer prices in April. A boom in demand amid a reopening economy and massive fiscal stimulus is pushing against supply constraints.

Imported fuel prices rose 0.5% last month after accelerating 7.5% in March. Petroleum prices increased 1.2%, while the cost of imported food rose 2.0%. Excluding fuel and food, import prices increased 0.6%. These so-called core import prices shot up 0.8% in March.

The report also showed export prices rose 0.8% in April after increasing 2.4% in March. Export prices soared 14.4% year-on-year, the largest rise since the series started in

September 1983, after increasing 9.5% in March.

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