Import prices in the U.S. showed another notable increase in the month of March, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday.
The report said import prices surged up by 1.2 percent in March after jumping by 1.3 percent in February. Economists had expected import prices to climb by 1.0 percent.
The Labor Department noted import prices spiked by 4.1 percent from December to March, reflecting the largest three-month increase since May of 2011.
Prices for fuel imports continued to lead the way higher, soaring by 6.3 percent in March after skyrocketing by 11.7 percent in February.
Excluding pries for fuel imports, import prices climbed by 0.8 percent in March after rising by 0.5 percent in the previous month.
The increase reflected higher prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials, foods, feeds, and beverages, capital goods and consumer goods.
“Soaring commodity prices and strong base effects will continue to boost import prices in the coming months,” said Kathy Bostjancic, Chief U.S. Financial Economist at Oxford Economics.
She added, “However, the acceleration in import inflation should be temporary and trend lower in the second half of the year.”
The report also said export prices jumped by 2.1 percent in March after shooting up by 1.6 percent in February. Export prices were expected to increase by 1.0 percent.
Prices for agricultural exports surged up by 2.4 percent in March after spiking by 2.8 percent in February, reflecting higher prices for meat, soybeans, fruit, and cotton.
The Labor Department said prices for non-agricultural exports also shot up by 2.9 percent in March following a 1.5 percent jump in February.
The March increase was led by higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials, consumer goods, capital goods, and non-agricultural foods.
Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices in March were up by 6.9 percent, reflecting the biggest jump since January of 2012.
Export prices in March were up by 9.1 percent year-over-year, the largest annual spike since September of 2011.