U.S. Import Prices Drop Sharply on Lower Fuel Costs

United Nations, US import prices fell by the most in more than 18 months in August, amid declines in the cost of fuels and a range of other goods, the government reported Friday, suggesting a strong dollar was limiting imported inflationary pressures.

The Labor Department said import prices fell 0.6 percent last month, the largest decline since early 2016 and following a downwardly revised 0.1 percent drop in July. In the 12 months through August, import prices rose 3.7 percent, slowing sharply from the 4.9 percent annual pace the previous month.

Prices for industrial supplies fell 0.8 percent, and costs of imported capital goods declined 0.1 percent last month.

Imported vehicle prices were flat in August for a second consecutive month.

The cost of consumer goods excluding automobiles also was unchanged.

In August, prices for imported fuels and lubricants plunged 3.9 percent, the largest decline since early 2016, after rising 1 percent in July. Food prices increased 0.4 percent after dropping 1.6 percent in July.

Excluding volatile energy and food, import prices fell 0.2 percent last month but advanced 1.3 percent over the past 12 months.

The drop in August core prices likely reflects the strong dollar, which has gained more than 6 percent this year.

The report also showed export prices fell 0.1 percent in August after tumbling 0.5 percent the previous month.

Prices for agricultural products increased 0.2 percent. Over the 12 months through August, export prices advanced 3.6 percent, a significant slowdown from the annual 4.3 percent pace in July.

Source: Saudi Press Agency