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US import prices surge in Oct on petroleum, food

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By Lucia Mutikani:

United States (US) import prices surged in October as the costs of petroleum products and food increased, adding to signs that inflation could remain high for a while.

Import prices accelerated 1.2 percent last month after gaining 0.4 percent in September, the Labor Department said on Tuesday.

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In the 12 months through October, prices jumped 10.7 percent after rising 9.3 percent in September.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, which exclude tariffs, increasing 1.0 percent.

The government reported last week a broad-based surge in both consumer and producer prices in October. Inflation is being fueled by fiscal stimulus and strained global supply chains related to the nearly two-year long Covid pandemic.

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Imported fuel prices soared 8.6 percent last month after increasing 3.9 percent in September. Petroleum prices advanced 8.1 percent, while the cost of imported food rose 0.8 percent.

Excluding fuel and food, import prices gained 0.3 percent. These so-called core import prices were unchanged in September and were up 5.0 percent on a year-on-year basis in October.

The report also showed export prices shot up 1.5 percent in October after rising 0.4 percent in September.

Prices for agricultural exports rebounded 1.0 percent. Nonagricultural export prices powered ahead 1.5 percent. Export prices surged 18.0 percent year-on-year in October, the biggest increase since the series was first published in September 1983. Prices rose 16.5 percent from a year ago in September.— Reuters

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