A report released by the Labor Department on Friday showed an unexpected increase in U.S. import prices in the month of September, although the report also showed an unexpected decrease in export prices.
The Labor Department said import prices rose by 0.2 percent in September after dipping by a revised 0.2 percent in August.
Economists had expected import prices to come in unchanged compared to the 0.5 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.
The unexpected uptick in import prices came amid a significant rebound in prices for fuel imports, which surged up by 2.1 percent in September after plunging by 1.9 percent in August.
Excluding the jump in fuel prices, import prices actually edged down by 0.1 percent in September after coming in unchanged for two straight months.
The Labor Department said foods, feeds, and beverages prices slumped by 0.8 percent, while prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials rose by 0.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the report said export prices slipped by 0.2 percent in September after sliding by 0.6 percent in August. Export prices had also been expected to come in unchanged.
Prices for agricultural exports led the way lower once again, tumbling by 1.8 percent in September following a 2.3 percent nosedive in August. Lower prices for corn, meat, wheat, and soybeans more than offset higher fruit prices.
The Labor Department said prices for non-agricultural exports edged down by 0.1 percent in September after falling by 0.3 percent in August.
The drop in non-agricultural export prices was led by prices non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials, consumer goods, and automotive vehicles.
Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices in September were down by 1.6 percent, as fuel import prices plunged by 5.1 percent and non-fuel import prices slid by 1.1 percent.
Export prices were also down by 1.6 percent year-over-year, as a 1.9 percent slump in prices for non-agricultural exports more than offset a 0.2 percent uptick in prices for agricultural exports.