Prices for US imports, exports rise in April

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U.S. import and export prices both increased in April, the U.S. Department of Labor reported on Tuesday.

Prices for U.S. imports advanced by 0.2 percent in April, after increasing by 0.6 percent in March and continuing the upward trend that began in January.

The April advance was driven by higher fuel prices, which more than offset decreasing prices for nonfuel imports.

Despite the recent monthly advances, import prices declined 0.2 percent for the 12-month period ending in April. The April year-over-year decrease was driven by lower nonfuel prices.

Import fuel prices rose by 2.5 percent in April, after increasing 6.9 percent in March and 10.2 percent in February. The advance in fuel prices was driven by a 6.1 percent rise in petroleum prices. Over the past 12 months, fuel prices rose 6.9 percent.

Natural gas prices declined 53.7 percent in April, the largest decrease since the index was first published on a monthly basis in December 1994.

The price index for nonfuel imports edged down 0.1 percent in April, after falling 0.2 percent in March. From April 2018 to April 2019, nonfuel import prices declined 0.9 percent, the largest 12-month drop since the index fell 0.9 percent for the year ending in August 2016.

The price index for U.S. exports advanced 0.2 percent in April, after increasing 0.6 percent in March and 0.7 percent in February.

The overall advance in April was led by rising prices for nonagricultural exports, which more than offset a decline in prices for agricultural exports. U.S. export prices rose 0.3 percent over the 12-month period ending in April.

The price index for agricultural exports decreased 1.5 percent in April following a 1.0-percent advance in March.

Nonagricultural export prices rose 0.4 percent in April, after increasing 0.7 percent the previous month. Over the past year, the price index for nonagricultural exports increased 0.7 percent.

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