U.S. import prices edged down in December as oil prices fell after a November surge, according to a government report on Friday that showed inflation pressures still muted.
Overall import prices were down 0.1 percent after a 0.8 percent gain in November, the Labor Department said. Imported petroleum costs dipped 0.4 percent in December following a 3.8 percent jump in November.
The dip in December import prices was in line with economists' expectations. Stripping out petroleum, import prices were flat in December after falling 0.2 percent in November.
But for the full year 2011, overall import prices increased 8.5 percent, well above the 5.3 percent gain posted in 2010 and the highest year-over-year gain since an 8.6 percent jump in 2009.
Despite December's drop in imported petroleum prices, they were up some 27.4 percent for the full year 2011, well ahead of 2010's 16.2 percent gain but far less than the 78.6 percent jump posted in 2009.
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