Import, Export Prices Up More Than Expected

U.S. import prices rose at a slower pace in April as petroleum and food cost increases moderated, a government report showed on Tuesday, supporting views the recent jump in commodity prices was likely to be transitory.

Overall import prices increased 2.2 percent for a seventh straight month of gains, the Labor Department said, slowing from a 2.6 percent increase in March.

The increase was, however, above economists' expectations for a 1.8 percent rise.

Excluding volatile petroleum, import prices were up 0.6 percent after rising 0.4 percent the prior month. In the 12 months to April, import prices rose 11.1 percent overall and 4.3 percent excluding petroleum.

Stripping out both petroleum and food, import prices rose 0.5 percent in April after a 0.3 percent rise in March.

Federal Reserve officials generally view the recent surge in food and energy prices as unlikely to translate into broader inflation. The monthly rise in import prices reflected a 7.2 percent increase in imported petroleum prices, which followed a 9.8 percent advance in March. Imported food prices increased 1.8 percent, slowing sharply from a 4.2 percent rise in March.