driver pumps gas
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON -- U.S. import prices fell in April due to a drop in oil costs, a positive sign for household finances that also pointed to benign inflation pressures.

Import prices slipped 0.5 percent last month, the biggest decline since December, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. March's data was revised to show a 0.2 percent decline instead of the previously reported 0.5 percent drop.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices to fall 0.5 percent last month. In the 12 months to April, import prices fell 2.6 percent.

Stripping out petroleum, import prices dropped 0.1 percent.

The tame inflation environment should allow the Federal Reserve to stay on its ultra-easy monetary policy course as it tries to nurse the economy back to health.

At its policy meeting earlier this month the central bank decided to continue buying $85 billion worth of bonds every month to push long-term interest rates downward.

At the same time, the economy has lately shown signs of resilience despite austerity measures enacted this year by Washington.

The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its gauge of confidence for small U.S. businesses rose in April to its highest in six months.

Lower oil prices are also helping household finances. The United States imports much of the fuel it consumes. Last month, imported petroleum prices fell 1.9 percent.

The Labor Department report also showed export prices fell 0.7 percent last month, the largest decline since June.

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And yet the fuel price is still just under $4 / gallon .... must be a WH spin ?????

May 14 2013 at 1:50 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

and the sacred enviro_MENTALS have absolutely no problems with WHERE the imported oil comes from
but somebody APPOINTED THEM the leaders of OUR economy and energy
and dependent on FOREIGN OIL.

remember back when PELOSI announces an energy crisis and THEN GOES ON VACATION ?
and a few repubes stayed behind and MOCKED HER,THE DIM POLICIES ETC ?
too bad no momemtum was gained.


May 14 2013 at 12:46 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply