U.S. Import Prices Disappoint in April

U.S. import prices rose less than expected in April as increases in the cost of petroleum and food were tempered by the largest decrease in the price of capital goods in 10 years, suggesting inflation could remain tame for a while.

The U.S. Labor Department said on Tuesday import prices increased 0.2% last month after an unrevised 0.6% increase in March. Economists had forecast import prices would climb 0.7% in April.

In the 12 months through April, import prices south of the border fell 0.2% after inching up 0.1% in March.

Information released last week showed moderate producer and consumer price increases in April, underscoring the Federal Reserve’s projection of no further interest rate increases this year. Economists say inflation is also not too low for the U.S. central bank to cut rates this year.

The Fed early this month kept rates unchanged and signaled little inclination to adjust monetary policy anytime soon. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said he believed the weak inflation readings "may wind up being transient."