WASHINGTON Aug 14 U.S. import prices fell in
July as a decline in the cost of petroleum products offset a
rebound in food prices, keeping a lid on imported inflation
The Labor Department said on Thursday import prices
decreased 0.2 percent last month after June's unrevised 0.1
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices
falling 0.3 percent in July. In the 12 months through July,
prices increased 0.8 percent.
Sluggish global demand is keeping imported inflation
subdued, but domestic price pressures are steadily rising.
That and a gradually tightening labor market has left some
economists anticipating an early interest rate increase from the
Imported petroleum prices fell 1.2 percent in July, the
largest decline since November, after rising 1.1 percent the
prior month. Imported food prices increased 1.0 percent. Food
prices had declined 1.6 percent in June.
Import prices excluding petroleum were flat in July.
Imported inflation was also dampened by a 0.8 percent fall in
the price of automobiles, the largest drop since December 1992.
The Labor Department report also showed export prices were
unchanged in July after falling 0.4 percent in June. In the 12
months through July, export prices rose 0.4 percent.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)