U.S. Import Prices Unexpectedly Rose in December on Soaring Natural Gas Prices

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By Xavier Fontdegloria

Prices of products imported to the United States increased in December, breaking a streak of five consecutive months of decline, due to higher natural gas prices.

Import prices rose 0.4% in December on the month after falling 0.7% in November, its first increase since June, data from the Labor Department showed on Friday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected prices to drop 0.8%.

The increase in import prices was driven by both higher fuel and non-fuel prices. Fuel prices rose 0.6%, as a 59.5% monthly increase in natural gas prices more than offset a 2.7% drop in oil prices. Excluding fuels, prices increased by 0.4%, the first monthly increase since April.

On an annual basis, import prices rose 3.5% in December, from a 2.7% increase in the year in November.

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

01-13-23 0858ET

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