A surge in the cost of petroleum boosted U.S. import prices in May after 10 straight months of declines, but a strong dollar continued to curb underlying imported inflation pressures.
The Labor Department said on Thursday import prices increased 1.3% last month, the largest gain since March 2012, after sliding by a revised 0.2% in April.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices rising 0.8% after a previously reported 0.3% drop in April. In the 12 months through May prices fell 9.6%.
Last month, imported petroleum prices surged 12.7%%, the biggest increase since June 2009, after increasing 1.8% in April.
Import prices excluding petroleum were unchanged in May. The dollar, which has gained about 13.2% against the currencies of the United States' main trading partners since June, is dampening underlying imported inflation pressures.
Imported food prices rose 0.3% after declining 1.0% in April.
The report also showed export prices rose 0.6% last month, the biggest gain since March 2014, after falling 0.7% in April. Export prices declined 5.9% in the 12 months through May.