US import prices were unchanged in January as the cost of petroleum products fell, offsetting gains in the prices of motor vehicles and capital goods.
The Labor Department said on Friday last month's unchanged reading in import prices followed a downwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in December. Import prices were previously reported to have increased 0.3 percent in December.
Import prices exclude tariffs. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices falling 0.2 percent in January.
In the 12 months through January, import prices gained 0.3 percent after increasing 0.5 percent in December.
Overall inflation has been moderate, with data on Thursday showing consumer prices in January posting their biggest annual increase since October 2018.
In January, prices for imported fuels and lubricants fell 2.2 percent after increasing 1.7 percent in December. Petroleum prices dropped 1.7 percent after rising 1.0 percent in December. Imported food prices rose 0.5 percent last month. That followed a 1.1 percent jump in December.
Excluding fuels and food, import prices rose 0.2 percent in January. The so-called core import prices were unchanged in December. Core import prices fell 0.8 percent in the 12 months through January.
The cost of goods imported from China fell 0.2 percent in January after being unchanged in the prior month. Prices declined 1.7 percent year-on-year in January.
The report also showed export prices rose 0.7 percent in January after falling 0.2 percent in December. Export prices increased 0.5 percent on a year-on-year basis in January after dropping 0.9 percent in December.