By Oleksandr @Adobe Stock

Jeffry Bartash of MarketWatch reports that import prices showed the biggest increase in almost two years as Middle East disruptions added to inflation pressures. Bartash writes:

The numbers: The cost of imported goods jumped 0.8% in January, marking the first increase since last fall and the biggest rise in almost two years.

The higher cost of imported goods was fueled in part by rising gas prices, but most other categories also showed increases. Import prices minus fuel rose 0.7% last month, the government said

Some economists said the increase in import prices was tied in part to shipping disruptions in the Middle East, where cargo vessels have been attacked. […]

Cheaper import prices help to lower U.S. inflation because Americans buy so many foreign-made products such as oil, cell phones and cars.

Imports also increase competition, another mechanism to help lower prices.

Read more here.