WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Import and export prices in the U.S. both increased by more than anticipated in the month of May, the Labor Department revealed in a report released on Thursday.
The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6 percent in May, matching the upwardly revised increase in April. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.5 percent.
The slightly bigger than expected increase in import prices was largely due to a jump in prices for fuel imports, which soared by 4.9 percent in May after surging up by 4.1 percent in April.
The advance in fuel prices was led by a 5.9 percent spike in petroleum prices, which more than offset a 19.5 percent slump in natural gas prices.
Excluding fuel imports, the report showed import prices edged up by 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month.
Export prices also increased by 0.6 percent in May, matching the growth reported for the previous month. Export prices had been expected to rise by 0.3 percent.
Prices for agricultural exports showed a substantial rebound, shooting up by 1.6 percent in May after tumbling by 1.2 percent in April. Wheat, corn, and soybean prices all showed significant increases.
The Labor Department said prices for non-agricultural exports also rose by 0.5 in May after climbing by 0.7 percent in April.
The increase was driven by higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials, although prices for capital goods and automotive vehicles also rose.
Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices were up by 4.3 percent in May, while export prices were up by 4.9 percent.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX