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Spike in Fuel Prices Pushes Import Costs Higher, BLS Reports

Import prices climbed 1.4 percent in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. Prices also increased 1.3 percent in January. The price index for U.S. exports grew 1.2 percent in February. Higher export prices for agricultural and nonagricultural products pushed figures up in February.

Fuel import prices increased 4 percent after rising 3.5 percent in January. Petroleum and natural gas rose 3.7 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively. Over the past year, fuel prices have increased 18.6 percent, with petroleum prices growing 20.6 percent. Natural gas prices have increased by 23.4 percent over the past two months, but those figures have dropped overall by 10.9 percent from February 2010 to February 2011.

Import prices excluding fuel products rose a modest 0.3 percent in February after rising 0.7 percent in January. Over the past year, the price index for imports excluding fuel increased 3.6 percent.

Export prices also rose in January, by 1.2 percent. Over the past year, the price index for overall exports has risen 8.6 percent.

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