Prices for goods imported into the United States were higher by 2.8% in March, according to the Labor Department's monthly report on trade prices. Prices were pushed higher by a surge in the price of petroleum, which increased 9.1% for the month. Excluding petroleum, March import prices rose just 1.1%. Economists were expecting prices to increase 2.2%.
In the past year, import prices are up 14.8%, while the price of petroleum imports are up 60%.
Meanwhile, prices for goods exported by the US rose 1.5% for March. It is the largest monthly increase since the Department of Labor began tracking the index in 1988. And the culprit is agriculture. Agriculture prices rose 4.1% in March, and 33.4% in the past year.
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