Under the Hood of U.S. Import Prices Was a Reason for Fed Delay

Here’s one key takeaway from the Labor Department’s report on import prices Friday in Washington: The costs of imports excluding fuel dropped 0.3 percent in September from the prior month and were down 3.1 percent of the past year, the biggest 12-month decrease since October 2009.

* The appreciation in the value of the dollar has made goods bought overseas cheaper, helping restrain U.S. inflation.

* The risk that inflation will not quickly pick up toward the Fed’s goal was one reason policy makers decided to delay increasing the benchmark interest rate, according to minutes of their September meeting released Thursday.

* Goods imports account for about 20 percent of total U.S. consumer spending.