U.S. import prices fell for a fifth straight month in November, weighed down by decreases in the costs of petroleum products and a range of other goods, supporting the view that inflation could continue to moderate in the months ahead.
Import prices dropped 0.6% last month after declining 0.4% in October, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, which exclude tariffs, would fall 0.5%.
In the 12 months through November, import prices increased 2.7%, the smallest gain since January 2021, after rising 4.1% in October.
The government reported on Tuesday that consumer prices increased moderately in November. The Federal Reserve – in the midst of its fastest interest rate hiking cycle since the 1980s – is expected to lift its policy rate by 50 basis points later on Wednesday, snapping a string of four straight 75-basis-point hikes.
Imported fuel prices fell 2.8% last month after dropping 2.7% in October. Petroleum prices decreased 3.3%, while the cost of imported food rebounded 1.8%.
Excluding fuel and food, import prices fell 0.6%. These so-called core import prices dipped 0.1% in October. Core import prices are being depressed by the dollar’s strength against the currencies of the United States’ main trade partners. The dollar has gained about 6.2% on a trade-weighted basis this year.
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