Export prices increased as import prices soared for February, according to a Labor Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.
Import prices gained 0.9% month over month for February for the third straight month of increases. Analysts weren't expecting such a jump, having predicted just 0.5% growth. The main reason behind February's rise was fuel. Import fuel prices increased 5.1% as nonfuel import prices fell 0.2%, due primarily to cheaper capital goods and foods.
In the past 12 months, overall import prices are down 1.1%.
Export prices increased 0.6%, exceeding analyst expectations of 0.2% growth. Agricultural prices jumped 1.7% after a 0.4% dip in January. Prices for nonagricultural exports increased 0.6%, the largest percentage gain since February 2013. Export prices have been on a roll recently, steadily increasing every month since a 0.6% decline last October.
Despite February's increase, export prices are down 1.3% over the last year.
On a regional basis, import prices from Canada increased 2.3% (primarily due to more expensive fuel), while China imports fell 0.4% in price.