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August 15, 2019

US import prices unexpectedly rise

Business

August 15, 2019

WASHINGTON: US import prices unexpectedly rose in July, but the underlying trend continued to be weak, pointing to subdued imported inflation pressures, Reuters reported.

The report from the Labor Department on Wednesday suggested inflation could remain moderate despite a broad increase in consumer prices in July, which could allow the Federal Reserve to cut interest rate further to limit the damage to the economy from trade tensions.

The Trump administration on Tuesday delayed imposing a 10 percent import tariff on laptops, cell phones, video game consoles and a wide range of other products made in China until mid-December, saying the move was to avoid hurting American shoppers heading into the Christmas holiday.

Economists said the delay of the duties, which had been scheduled to kick off on Sept. 1, still left a cloud over the economy.

Fears about the impact of the trade war on the US economic expansion, the longest in history, prompted the Fed to cut its short-term lending rate by 25 basis points last month for the first time since 2008.

Import prices increased 0.2 percent last month as a rebound in the cost of petroleum products offset declines in prices for capital goods and motor vehicles, the government said. Data for June was revised down to show import prices dropping 1.1 percent instead of falling 0.9 percent as previously reported.

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