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Import prices increased 1.1 percent in February after rising 0.7 percent in January. February’s gain is more than double the 0.5 percent consensus forecasts. Petroleum prices, up 5.2 percent, were the main driver of the gain in the overall index. Nonpetroleum import prices remained unchanged in February after posting 0.1 percent increases in January and December. On a year-over-year basis, import prices fell −0.3 percent, marking the fourth consecutive month of losses. Nonpetroleum import prices ticked up 0.2 percent compared to last year while petroleum prices continued to post year over year losses. Declining −1.4 percent year-over-year, petroleum prices marked ten consecutive months of losses. After weak prices in November and December, February’s report maintains some of the strength seen in January. Most of the gain, however, is driven by petroleum which can be prone to large swings.
Export prices increased 0.8 percent in February after increasing 0.3 percent in January. On a year-over-year basis, export prices advanced 1.5 percent marking the fifth consecutive month of yearly gains.