June 15, 2009
Prices of U.S. imports rose 1.3 percent in May, the third consecutive increase and largest monthly advance since a 1.4-percent advance in July 2008.
The May increase was led by an 8.3-percent gain in petroleum prices which followed a 28.6-percent increase from January through April. Despite the recent jump in petroleum prices, the index fell 51.4 percent over the past year.
Nonpetroleum prices rose 0.2 percent in May, the first increase for the index since July 2008. Prices for nonpetroleum imports decreased 5.8 percent for the year ended in May and overall import prices fell 17.6 percent for the same period.
The rise in nonpetroleum prices was driven primarily by a 0.6-percent advance in prices for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials, the first increase for that index since July 2008. The increase was led by higher prices for nonferrous metals and chemicals, which more than offset lower iron and steel mill product prices.
These data are from the BLS International Price program. Import price data are subject to revision. Learn more in "U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes – May 2009" (PDF) (HTML), news release USDL 09-0635.