WASHINGTON - The U.S. Import Price Index rose 0.9 percent in May, according to a report released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. This follows a 1.4 percent increase in April. Higher prices for both petroleum and non-petroleum imports contributed to the increase.
Export prices also advanced in May, rising 0.1 percent after a 0.3 percent increase in April.
Prices for overall imports increased 0.9 percent in May after rising 3.3 percent over the previous three months. Petroleum prices rose 2.7 percent in May after an increase of 6.6 percent in April.
Non-petroleum import prices increased 2.8 percent over the past 12 months while overall import prices rose 1.1 percent over the past year.
The May increase in non-petroleum import prices was led by a continued rise in the price index for non-petroleum industrial supplies and materials, which increased 1.8 percent for the month and 8.2 percent for the year ended in May.
Import prices on metals were notably higher as copper rose 15.4 percent for the second consecutive month.
The increase in nonagricultural prices was driven by a rise in the price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials, up 0.3 percent in May after advancing 1.3 percent in April. Higher prices for chemicals and iron and steel products also contributed to the increase. Prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials rose 8.1 percent over the past year.
The price index for imports from China rose 0.3 percent in May, the largest monthly increase since the index was first published in January 2004. Over the past year, import prices from China ticked up 0.1 percent, the first time the index increased over a 12-month period.
Prices for import air freight rose 1.1 percent in May, driven by a 3.3 percent advance in European air freight prices. Import air freight prices increased 1.4 percent over the past year. Export air freight prices advanced 0.3 percent in May and 2.5 percent over the past 12 months.