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Following only modest gains in January, the United States Department of Labor reported Wednesday that the price index for both U.S. imports and exports edged slightly higher in February, driven up by a jump in fuel prices.
The cost of goods imported into the U.S. increased the most in six months and represented the second consecutive month of gains. The index rose 1.1 percent, alongside a 4.9 percent increase in fuel prices, while in January, the the index inched forward only 0.6 percent. However, excluding fuel imports, import prices remained flat, month-over-month, and showed little movement from February 2012.
“We had a pretty substantial rise in oil prices, but we’ve come back,” Jefferies economist Tom Simons told Bloomberg before the report was released. “Outside of oil, there really isn’t a lot going on with import prices. They’re pretty stable excluding the volatility due to oil.”
As prices have dropped over the past 12 months, economists polled by Bloomberg had expected the index to be in line with January’s reading of 0.6 percent…
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