Import Prices Nudge Up in September

The cost of goods imported into the United States rose by a smaller-than-expected 0.2 percent in September, a government report showed on Thursday, as petroleum import costs rose a modest 0.6 percent.

The rise in import prices followed a downwardly revised 1.4 percent gain in August, the Labor Department (search) said. Wall Street had forecast a 0.5 percent advance.

Non-petroleum import prices (search) increased 0.1 percent, driven by higher prices for autos, foods, feeds and beverages, and for non-petroleum industrial supplies and materials.

The slight rise in overall import prices suggests the economy faces little risk of broad inflation pressures.

On a year-on-year basis, import prices were up 7.8 percent in September while the cost of imports excluding petroleum rose 2.9 percent.

Export prices climbed 0.4 percent compared with a 0.5 percent drop in August.

The cost of imported industrial supplies (search) and materials increased 0.4 percent in September. In an indication of price pressures in the manufacturing process, costs of industrial supplies have climbed 28.3 percent in the last year, the biggest annual increase since a 29.2 percent gain the 12 months ending in March 2003.