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U.S Import Prices Jump As Oil And Other Commodities Rally

The price index for U.S. imports rose by 1.3 percent in February 2021 as higher oil and natural gas prices resulted in a surge in fuel import prices, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Tuesday.

Following a 1.4-percent increase in January 2021, the February U.S. import prices rose by another 1.3 percent due to both higher fuel prices and non-fuel prices in the past two months.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for import fuel jumped by 11.1 percent in February, accelerating the rising trend of the past few months.

Oil prices have rallied in recent months, raising the cost of imported fuels and fueling expectations that inflation will accelerate in the coming months.

The fuel import prices rose by 9.0 percent in January, 7.3 percent in December, and 4.4 percent in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today. The February rise of 11.1 percent was the largest jump in the fuel import price index since the 15.2-percent rise in July 2020.

The fuel import price index rose in February due to an 11.3-percent surge in petroleum prices and an 11.2-percent jump in natural gas prices.

The price index for import fuel rose 6.5 percent over the past year, the first 12-month increase since a 13.2-percent rise registered in January 2020.

Prices for petroleum imports rose 5.5 percent for the year ended in February, and natural gas prices surged 44.8 percent over the same period, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Higher crude oil prices this year have raised the price of gasoline in the United States, and prices are expected to further rise in the coming weeks. Some U.S. states could see gasoline prices rise to as much as $4 per gallon, according to AAA. As crude oil prices have shot up in recent weeks, Americans are already paying 14 percent more for a gallon of gasoline than they were in February, according to AAA data.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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