The price of goods imported into the United States rose less than expected in December, suggesting that inflation remains under control.
Tuesday's Commerce Department report says import prices rose 0.2 percent, about half what economists had expected.
Rising oil prices were the key factor in the import price hikes.
The economic data is the latest in a series of reports indicating little danger from inflation. Experts say with inflation apparently at bay, the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, is less likely to raise interest rates anytime soon.
Higher interest rates are a key tool in fighting inflation.
Low interest rates are credited with helping the American economy expand, but also partly to blame for the declining value of the U.S. dollar on foreign exchange markets.
Another government report released Tuesday said the price of goods exported from the United States also rose 0.2 percent, fueled by price hikes for food and beverages.
Some information for this report provided by Bloomberg and Reuters.