Australia Q1 Import Prices Rise More Than Expected

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Australia's import prices increased at a faster-than-expected pace in the three months ended March, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Thursday.

The import price index climbed 2.1 percent sequentially in the first quarter, following a 2.0 percent slight rise in the fourth quarter of 2017. It was the second consecutive quarterly increase.

That was above the 1.2 percent rise economists had forecast.

The increase was driven by higher prices paid for petroleum, petroleum products and related materials, road vehicles, inorganic chemicals and plastics in primary forms.

On a yearly basis, imports prices grew at a faster rate of 2.3 percent in the March quarter, after a 1.4 percent gain in the December quarter.

Data also revealed that export prices rose 4.9 percent quarterly in the first quarter, following a 2.8 increase in the prior month. As compared to the corresponding period last year, the index dropped by 1.4 percent.