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U.S. import-price index rises slightly more than expected in April

The Labor Department reported on Friday the import-price index, measuring the cost of goods ranging from Canadian oil to Chinese electronics, rose 0.7 percent m-o-m in April, following a revised 1.4 percent m-o-m gain in March (originally a 1.2 percent m-o-m gain). Economists had expected prices to increase 0.6 percent m-o-m last month.

According to the report, the April gain was driven by higher prices for both fuel (+0.5 percent m-o-m) and nonfuel (+0.7 percent m-o-m) imports.

Over the 12-month period ended in April, import prices surged 10.6 percent, with higher fuel (+126.5 percent; the largest 12-month advance since February 2000) and nonfuel (+5.0 percent; the largest 12-month gain since September 2011) prices contributing to the climb. This was the largest over-the-year increase since the year ended October 2011.

Meanwhile, the price index for U.S. exports went up 0.8 percent m-o-m in April, following a revised 2.4 percent m-o-m climb in the previous month (originally a 2.1 percent m-o-m growth).

The April rise was driven by higher prices for both agricultural exports (+0.6 percent m-o-m) and nonagricultural exports (+0.9 percent m-o-m).

Over the past 12 months, the price index for exports jumped 14.4 percent, reflecting surges in prices of both agricultural exports (+25.2 percent; the largest over-the-year rise since July 2011) and nonagricultural exports (+13.1 percent; the largest over-the-year advance since the index was first published in March

1985). This represented the largest over-the-year increase since the index was first published in September 1983.

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