U.S. import prices rose more than expected in January amid further gains in the cost of energy products, but a strong dollar continued to dampen underlying imported inflation.
The Labor Department said on Friday import prices increased 0.4 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.5 percent rise in December. In the 12 months through January, import prices jumped 3.7 percent, the largest gain since February 2012, after advancing 2.0 percent in December.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices gaining 0.2 percent last month after a previously reported 0.4 percent increase in December.
Import prices are rising as firming global demand lifts prices for oil and other commodities, but the spillover to a broader increase in inflation is being limited by dollar strength.
The dollar gained 4.4 percent against the currencies of the United States' main trading partners in 2016, with most of the appreciation occurring in last months of the year.