The U.S. import price index was up 2.8% in March, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.
IFR Markets had predicted a 1.8% increase for the imports index. The 2.8% increase in the index followed an unrevised 0.2% increase in import prices in February.
Excluding petroleum, the import price index rose 1.1% in the month, after a revised 0.7% rise in February, originally reported as a 0.6% gain. This was the largest gain in the category on record. Excluding fuels, imports were up 0.9% in the month, the biggest one-month jump since December 2001.
Petroleum import prices spiked 9.1% in March after a revised 1.9% dip in February, originally reported as a 1.5% decline, Labor said. In the past year, petroleum import prices have soared 60.0%, compared to a 14.8% climb in the overall import price index and a 5.4% rise in non-petroleum imports, Labor said.
Metals, natural gas and chemicals were the leading reasons for the gain in the index excluding petroleum.
Meanwhile, export prices rose 1.5%, after a 1.1% increase in February, originally reported as a 0.9% gain.