February 15, 2008 / 1:35 PM / 10 years ago

Import prices up 1.7 percent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. import prices rose 1.7 percent in January, powered by higher prices for oil, while export prices increased 1.2 percent, the largest rise since January 1989, a U.S. government report showed on Friday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected only a 0.4 percent rise in import prices and a 0.3 percent rise in export prices.

The Labor Department revised its estimate of December import prices to show a 0.2 decline, after previously reporting them unchanged. December export prices stood at 0.4 percent.

Petroleum and food were key factors behind the rise in overall imports prices. Prices for imported petroleum increased 5.5 percent in January and were up 66.9 percent over the past the 12 months the largest 12-month gain since October 2004.

The year-to-year rise in import prices was 13.7 percent, the biggest 12-month change since 1982 when the department began tracking this data.

Prices for imported food, feeds and beverages increased 3.1 in January, the largest monthly gain since March 2005.

On the export side, prices for U.S. food, feeds and beverages increased 5.6 percent, the largest monthly gain since the government began tracking this data.

Agricultural export prices rose 5.0 percent in January, the largest gain since September 2003.

Overall export prices rose 6.7 percent from January a year ago, which was the biggest year-to-year change since an 8.7 percent rise in September 1988.

Reporting by Doug Palmer, editing by Joanne Morrison

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