U.S. Import Prices Edged Up in July

By Sarah Chaney and Josh MitchellFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Overall prices for foreign goods shipped to the U.S. rose in July after two months of declines, driven by higher fuel prices.

Import prices inched up 0.1% in July from a month earlier, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected no change in import prices last month. Unlike most measures of inflation, import prices are not adjusted for seasonality.

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Still, the report underscored persistently weak inflation. Excluding petroleum, import prices were flat. Excluding all types of fuel, prices fell for the first time since January.

Over the past year, overall prices are up just 1.5%.

The import-price index is one of several gauges the Federal Reserve studies to understand how quickly prices for products are rising in the U.S. The Fed's preferred inflation gauge, the Commerce Department's personal-consumption-expenditures index, was up 1.4% in June from a year earlier and has dropped for four consecutive months on an annual basis from 2.2% in February.

Tuesday's report also showed prices for U.S. exports increased 0.4% in July from a month earlier, matching the largest monthly advance since June 2016. From a year earlier, export prices were up 0.8%.

The Labor Department report on import and export prices can be accessed at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ximpim.toc.htm.

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Josh Mitchell at joshua.mitchell@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 15, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)