U.S. Import Prices Drop in May, Reports Bureau of Labor Statistics

June 12th, 2012 by Editor

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. import prices decreased 1.0 percent in May after no change the previous month. Lower fuel and nonfuel prices each contributed to the May decrease in overall import prices. U.S. export prices also declined in May, falling 0.4 percent after a 0.4 percent increase in April.

The price index for overall imports fell 1.0 percent in May, the largest one-month drop since the index declined 1.2 percent in June 2010, according to the release. Prices for U.S. imports also decreased over the past 12 months, falling 0.3 percent, the first year-over-year decline for the index since import prices fell 5.6 percent between October 2008 and October 2009. The decrease over the May 2011-12 period was led by lower fuel prices which more than offset an increase in nonfuel prices, says the release.

Fuel prices fell 4.2 percent in May, the largest monthly drop for the index since a 5.1- percent decrease in May 2010, according to DOL. The price index for import fuels declined 3.9 percent over the past year after rising 43.7 percent for the year ended May 2011. The decline over the past year was the largest 12-month drop in fuel prices since the index fell 14.2 percent for the October 2008-09 period, says the release.

Prices for nonfuel imports edged down 0.1 percent in May, the first monthly decline since the index fell 0.2 percent in November 2011. The May decrease followed increases of 0.2 percent in April and 0.5 percent in March. Despite the May decline, the price index for nonfuel imports rose 1.0 percent over the past year.

Export prices fell 0.4 percent in May after increasing 2.0 percent over the first four months of 2012. Overall export prices edged down 0.1 percent between May 2011 and May 2012, the first 12-month drop in the index since a 3.6 percent decrease for the year ended October 2009.

The price index for nonagricultural exports fell 0.5 percent in May, the first monthly decline since a 0.2 percent decrease in December 2011 and the largest since a 1.4 percent drop in October 2011. In May, falling nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices more than offset higher finished goods prices. Overall nonagricultural prices ticked up 0.1 percent over the past year.

Read the full release HERE.


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