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Prices paid for U.S. imports surge 2.7% in March

Prices paid for U.S. imports surge 2.7% in March (by Jeffry Bartash )

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The prices paid for goods imported into the U.S. jumped 2.7% in March, the biggest increase in nearly two years, as fuel and food costs accelerated, according to Labor Department data. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected import prices to climb 2.0% last month. The increase in import prices in February was left unchanged at 1.4%. Import prices have risen more than 1.0% in each of the past six months and they have climbed 9.7% from March 2010 to March 2011, marking the largest 12-month increase since April 2010. Excluding fuel, import prices rose a sharp 0.6% in March, spurred by the biggest increase in the cost of food, beverages and feedstuffs in nearly 17 years. The price of goods exported by the U.S. to other nations, meanwhile, rose 1.5% in March.

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Prices paid for U.S. imports surge 2.7% in March