The prices the U.S. paid for imported goods rose in February for the first time in nine months, largely because oil is no longer in a freefall. The import price index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.4% last month, larger than the 0.1% gain predicted by economists polled by MarketWatch. Yet excluding fuel, import prices fell by 0.3% last month, the Labor Department said Thursday. The price of U.S.-made goods exported to other nations, meanwhile, dipped 0.1% in February. For the past 12 months U.S. import prices have dropped 9.4%, mainly because of sharply lower oil costs. Import prices are down a much smaller 1.2% excluding fuel during the same span.
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