Import prices rose 0.5 percent in March after increasing a total of 4.1 percent in the previous three months; the 4.1-percent increase was largely led by rising petroleum prices. For the year ended in March, overall import prices were up 6.7 percent.
Prices for petroleum imports fell 1.8 percent in March after having risen 34.2 percent in the prior three months. Despite the March decline, the petroleum index was still up 52.5 percent over the past 12 months.
In contrast, nonpetroleum prices rose 0.9 percent in March, the largest increase posted for this index since monthly publication began in December 1988. A 5.0-percent increase in the price index for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials—led by rising natural gas prices—was the primary contributor to the increase in nonpetroleum import prices. For the March 2002-March 2003 period, nonpetroleum import prices were up 2.4 percent.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Import prices up modestly in March at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2003/apr/wk1/art05.htm (visited February 26, 2024).