U.S. import prices rose 0.5 percent September to October, exceeding economists expectations, the Labor Department said Friday.
After rising 1.1 percent in September, economists expected prices to hold steady. Export prices, on the other hand, were unchanged month to month after rising 0.8 percent in September.
Import inflation in October was largely due to rising fuel prices, which rose 1.2 percent. Prices for non-fuel imports rose 0.3 percent in the month.
Export prices were flat with agricultural exports down 1.9 percent, the steepest drop since December 2011.
Non-agricultural export prices were up 0.2 percent.
The annual import inflation index tell a different story. Fuel import prices are up 1 percent October 2011 to October 2012, a dramatic decline from the 34.3 percent gain from October 2010 to October 2011.
Non-fuel import prices are up 0.1 percent on an annual basis.
Agricultural exports over 12 months rose 11.6 percent, nearly identical to the 11.5 percent gain from October 2010 to October 2011.
Non-agricultural export prices over 12 months are up 5.8 percent, the department said.
In the category of imported finished consumer goods, prices for medical, dental and pharmaceutical goods rose 0.7 percent, while prices for vehicles rose 0.3 percent, pushed by a 0.6 point rise in the price of passenger cars.
European air fares rose 3.7 percent in the month, which pushed overall import air passenger fares to a 2 percent rise.
Freight prices also rose, climbing 1.3 percent month to month, although import air freight prices are down 2.7 percent over the past year.
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