U.S. import and export pricing inched down in March, with imports falling by 0.5 percent, while export prices declined by 0.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The declines, which officials blame on a downturn in fuel prices, were preceded by import price gains of 0.6 percent in February and 0.5 percent in January. In February, export prices rose by 0.7 percent.
Year-over-year, exports showed larger declines. Imports dropped by 2.7 percent, the largest decline since July 2012's 3.3-percent decrease. Imports grew, year over year, by 0.3 percent.
The leading factor in declining import prices was fuel, which dropped 1.9 percent last month after gains in January and February. Petroleum prices and natural gas prices both showed declines of more than 1.5 percent. Non-fuel import prices declined by 0.2 percent last month.
Agricultural exports declined by 1.8 percent in March on drops in wheat and fruit prices after a relatively strong uptick in February. Non-agricultural exports fell by 0.2 percent last month. - Jon Ross