US Import Prices Increase Solidly in May

WASHINGTON—U.S. import prices increased solidly in May amid higher prices for petroleum products, but there were tentative signs of some moderation in underlying imported inflation pressures.

Import prices rose 0.6 percent last month after gaining 0.4 percent in April, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. In the 12 months through May, import prices increased 11.7 percent after advancing 12.5 percent in April. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices, which exclude tariffs, increasing 1.1 percent.

Globally, inflation has surged since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and the war has boosted oil and grain prices.

Government data this week showed monthly consumer and producer prices accelerating in May, fueled by energy costs. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise its policy interest rate later on Wednesday for a third time this year, with an increase of 3/4 of a percentage point seen as likely, and possibly signals for more large hikes to come.

Imported fuel prices shot up 7.5 percent last month after climbing 0.5 percent in April. Petroleum prices rebounded 6.7 percent, while the cost of imported food fell 0.2 percent.

Excluding fuel and food, import prices dropped 0.3 percent. These so-called core import prices increased 0.4 percent in April. They rose 5.5 percent on a year-on-year basis in May.

The report also showed export prices rose 2.8 percent in May after advancing 0.8 percent in April.

Prices for agricultural exports gained 2.1 percent. Nonagricultural export prices advanced 2.9 percent. Export prices jumped 18.9 percent year-on-year in May, the largest gain since September 1984. That followed an 18.3 percent increase in April.



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