Washington. US import prices fell for the second straight month in November amid a decline in the costs of energy products and automobiles, suggesting that a contraction in imports may help lower domestic inflation next year.
The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that import prices fell by 0.4 percent last month.
In the 12 months to November, import prices fell by 1.4%, after falling by 1.8% in October. Annual import prices have fallen for 10 consecutive months.
Imported fuel prices fell by 5.6 percent, continuing their 3.7 percent decline in October. The cost of imported foodstuffs rose 0.9 percent after falling 0.5 percent in the previous month. Excluding fuel and food, import prices rose 0.1 percent.
Prices of imported capital goods remained unchanged after falling by 0.1% in the previous month. The cost of cars, spare parts and engines fell 0.1 percent after rising 0.3 percent in October.
Prices of consumer goods, except for cars, were unchanged after falling by 0.1% in the previous month.
US retail sales rose unexpectedly in November with the start of the holiday shopping season, which should keep the economy on track for moderate growth this quarter.
The Commerce Department’s Census Bureau reported that retail sales rose 0.3 percent last month.
Another report from the Labor Department showed that initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000 in the week ending Dec. 9.
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