June 13, 2012
From May 2011 to May 2012 U.S. import prices fell 0.3 percent, the first year-over-year decline for the index since import prices fell 5.6 percent between October 2008 and October 2009. Overall export prices edged down 0.1 percent during the same period.
The decrease in import prices over the May 2011–May 2012 period was led by lower fuel prices which more than offset an increase in nonfuel prices. The price index for import fuels declined 3.9 percent over the past year after rising 43.7 percent for the year ended May 2011. The decline over the past year was the largest 12-month drop in fuel prices since the index fell 14.2 percent for the October 2008–October 2009 period. The price index for nonfuel imports rose 1.0 percent over the past year.
Overall export prices edged down between May 2011 and May 2012, the first 12-month drop in the index since a 3.6-percent decrease for the year ended October 2009. The 12-month decline was led by lower agricultural prices, which fell 1.3 percent over the past 12 months. Lower prices for cotton, wheat, and corn over the past year all contributed to the decline.
These data are from the International Price program. Import and export price data are subject to revision. To learn more, see "U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes — May 2012" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-12-1180.