WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. import prices surged in October as the costs of petroleum products and food increased, adding to signs that inflation could remain high for a while.
Import prices accelerated 1.2% last month after gaining 0.4% in September, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. In the 12 months through October, prices jumped 10.7% after rising 9.3% in September. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, which exclude tariffs, increasing 1.0%.
The government reported last week a broad-based surge in both consumer and producer prices in October. Inflation is being fueled by fiscal stimulus and strained global supply chains related to the nearly two-year long COVID-19 pandemic.
Imported fuel prices soared 8.6% last month after increasing 3.9% in September. Petroleum prices advanced 8.1%, while the cost of imported food rose 0.8%.
Excluding fuel and food, import prices gained 0.3%. These so-called core import prices were unchanged in September and were up 5.0% on a year-on-year basis in October.
The report also showed export prices shot up 1.5% in October after rising 0.4% in September. Prices for agricultural exports rebounded 1.0%. Nonagricultural export prices powered ahead 1.5%. Export prices surged 18.0% year-on-year in October, the biggest increase since the series was first published in September 1983. Prices rose 16.5% from a year ago in September.
Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrew Heavens