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US import prices record small increase

Reuters
Friday, January 12, 2018

WASHINGTON - US import prices recorded their smallest increase in five months in December and underlying imported price pressures were muted amid declining costs for food and consumer goods.

The slowdown in import price growth came despite a weak dollar, which could temper expectations that inflation will pick up this year and keep the Federal Reserve on a path of gradual interest rate increases.

"Fed officials are desperate for more inflation and will take it from any quarter," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

"Today's import price data will worry the Fed doves even more about too-low inflation."

The Labor Department said on Wednesday import prices edged up 0.1 per cent last month after accelerating 0.8 per cent in November.

That was the smallest gain since July and was well below economists' expectations for a 0.5 per cent increase.

In the 12 months through December, prices increased 3.0 per cent, slowing from November's 3.3 per cent jump.








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