US import prices rebound strongly in January

Container trucks, ships and cranes are shown at the Port of Long Beach as the supply chain issue continues from Long Beach, California, U.S. November 22, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo /File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) – U.S. import prices rose the most in nearly 11 years in January amid rising energy product costs and strained supply chains, latest indication that high inflation could persist for some time.

Import prices rose 2.0% last month, the biggest rise since April 2011, after falling 0.4% in December, the Labor Department said Wednesday. In the 12 months to January, prices accelerated 10.8% after rising 10.2% in December.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, excluding tariffs, to rise 1.3%.

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The report follows news on Tuesday that producer prices rose the most in eight months in January. Consumer prices also rose solidly last month, with the annual inflation rate posting its largest increase in 40 years.

Supply bottlenecks had shown signs of easing towards the end of 2021, but that progress stalled as cases of COVID-19, driven by the Omicron variant, raged around the world.

Imported fuel prices climbed 9.3% last month after falling 8.3% in December. Oil prices jumped 9.5%, while the cost of imported food accelerated 3.6%.

Excluding fuel and food, import prices rose 1.1%. These so-called basic import prices increased by 0.6% in December. They increased by 6.2% year on year in January.

The report also shows that export prices rose 2.9% in January after falling 1.6% in December. Agricultural export prices rose 3.0%. Non-agricultural export prices rose 2.9%.

Export prices rose 15.1% year-on-year in January. This followed a 14.8% advance in December.

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Reporting by Lucia Mutikani

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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