Prices for U.S. imports increased 1.4 percent in May, following advances of 0.7 percent in April and 0.4 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The May rise was primarily driven by higher fuel prices, although nonfuel prices also increased. U.S. export prices advanced 1.1 percent in May, after rising 0.5 percent the previous month.
Import prices rose for the third consecutive month in May, rising 1.4 percent, after recording 0.7-percent and 0.4-percent increases in April and March. The May advance was the largest monthly rise since the index increased 1.4 percent in March 2012. The last 1-month gain larger than 1.4 percent was a 2.6-percent advance in April 2011. Despite the recent increases, import prices declined 5.0 percent over the past 12 months, driven by decreases over the second half of 2015 and the first 2 months of 2016.
Import prices from Canada advanced 4.2 percent in May, after increasing 3.7 percent in April and 1.6 percent in March. The price index for imports from the European Union rose 0.6 percent in May and 0.2 percent in April.
Prices for imports from Mexico advanced 0.9 percent in May, following 0.3-percent and 0.2-percent rises the previous 2 months. Import prices from Japan also rose in May, ticking up 0.1 percent for the second consecutive month.
The price index for imports from China recorded no change in May, after declining 0.2 percent in each of the 3 previous months. Prices for imports from China have not recorded a monthly advance since the index rose 0.1 percent in December 2014.
Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices increased 1.7 percent in May, following a 0.4-percent advance in April. The May rise was led by a 5.5-percent increase in unfinished metals prices that was in turn driven by higher prices for iron and steel mill products, steelmaking materials, gold, and other precious metals.