With a jump in prices for fuel imports offset by a drop in prices for non-fuel imports, the Labor Department released a report on Tuesday showing import prices in the U.S. came in unchanged in the month of July.
The Labor Department said import prices were unchanged in July after edging down by a revised 0.1 percent in June.
Economists had expected import prices to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.4 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.
The unchanged reading on import prices came as prices for fuel imports surged up by 1.6 percent in July after jumping by 1.3 percent in June, but prices for non-fuel prices fell by 0.3 percent for the second straight month.
Higher prices for petroleum and natural gas contributed to the rise in fuel prices, while the drop in non-fuel prices reflected lower prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials, foods, feeds, and beverages and capital goods.
Meanwhile, the report said export prices fell by 0.5 percent in July after rising by a downwardly revised 0.2 percent in June.
Export prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.3 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
The unexpected drop in export prices was the first monthly decrease since June of 2017 and the largest since prices fell 0.6 percent in May of 2017.
The Labor Department said the decline was driven by a drop in agricultural export prices, which plunged by 5.3 percent in July after sliding by 1.0 percent in June.
A 14.1 percent slump in soybean prices was the primary contributor to the drop in agricultural prices, which was the largest monthly decline since October of 2011.
The report said prices for non-agricultural exports were unchanged in July after rising by 0.4 percent in June, as falling prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials and automotive vehicles were offset by rising prices for non-agricultural foods.
Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices were up by 4.8 percent in July, while export prices were up by 4.3 percent.