November 16, 2017 / 1:47 PM / a year ago

U.S. import prices rise less than expected in October

FILE PHOTO - A stack of shipping containers are pictured in the Port of Miami in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - U.S. import prices rose less than expected in October as an increase in the cost of imported petroleum and capital goods was offset by a decline in food prices.

The Labor Department said on Thursday that import prices gained 0.2 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.8 percent jump in September. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices increasing 0.4 percent in October after a previously reported 0.7 percent gain in September.

In the 12 months through October, import prices increased 2.5 percent, slowing after a 2.7 percent rise in September.

Last month, prices for imported petroleum increased 1.7 percent after surging 6.3 percent in September. Import prices excluding petroleum edged up 0.1 percent after shooting up 0.4 percent the prior month. Import prices excluding petroleum rose 1.4 percent in the 12 months through October.

A weak dollar, which has this year lost 5.4 percent of its value against the currencies of the United States’ main trading partners, could keep import prices outside petroleum supported.

Imported capital goods prices rose 0.2 percent last month, while the cost of imported food fell 0.2 percent.

The report also showed export prices were unchanged in October as the biggest monthly increase in the price of agricultural exports in nearly 1-1/2 years was eclipsed by a drop in nonagricultural prices. Export prices rose 0.7 percent in September. They increased 2.7 percent year-on-year after rising 2.8 percent in September.

Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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