The numbers: The cost of imported goods jump 1.3% in February and rose sharply for the third month in a row, reflecting a rebound in inflation that’s been driven in large part by higher gasoline prices.
The import price index jumped 1.3% in February, the government said Thursday. Import prices also increased 1.4% in January and 1% in December.
After falling early in the pandemic, import prices have surged well above precrisis levels. The yearly rate of import inflation climbed to 3% in February.
If fuel is excluded, import prices moved up 0.4% last month. Over the past year import prices minus fuel have risen 2.8%.
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Rising demand as the global economy recovers and disruptions in supply lines caused by the pandemic have led to shortages of some key materials such as computer chips and lumber. That’s leading to delays in production and pushing up prices as companies compete for resources.
U.S. export prices increased 1.6% February. They have also been rising rapidly for the same reasons.
The stock market DJIA, -0.33% is still climbing despite more worries about inflation. The Federal Reserve contends inflation will recede once the pandemic fades.