Import Prices Up Surprising 0.2%

U.S. import prices posted a surprising 0.2% rise in November even though oil import prices fell, according to a new government report this morning.

Analysts were expecting import prices to fall 0.1%.

The 0.7% rise in non-petroleum prices was the biggest gain since May.

Natural gas import prices were up 30.3% as weather started to get colder, the steepest climb since a 39.5% rise in November 2004. Non-petroleum industrial supplies and
materials prices rose by 2.9%, the biggest margin since October 2005.

Petroleum import prices fell 1.6%, the third monthly decline. However, petroleum prices were up 1.5% for the year ending in November.

Meanwhile, export prices rose a more-than-expected 0.4%, compared with a forecast of a 0.2% increase.

Import prices are studied by the Federal Reserve as a potential source of inflation in the production pipeline.