Prices for U.S. imports increased 1.4 percent in May, following advances of 0.7 percent in April and 0.4
percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The May rise was primarily driven by
higher fuel prices, although nonfuel prices also increased. U.S. export prices advanced 1.1 percent in May,
after rising 0.5 percent the previous month.
All Imports: Import prices rose for the third consecutive month in May, rising 1.4 percent, after recording
0.7-percent and 0.4-percent increases in April and March. The May advance was the largest monthly rise
since the index increased 1.4 percent in March 2012. The last 1-month gain larger than 1.4 percent was a
2.6-percent advance in April 2011. Despite the recent increases, import prices declined 5.0 percent over the
past 12 months, driven by decreases over the second half of 2015 and the first 2 months of 2016.
Fuel Imports: The price index for import fuel increased 16.2 percent in May, following a 9.4-percent
advance in April and an 8.4-percent rise in March. The May increase was the largest monthly jump in fuel
prices since the index rose 17.3 percent in April 1999 and the second largest 1-month advance since the
index was first published monthly in October 1992. A 17.4-percent increase in petroleum prices led the May
rise in fuel prices, although natural gas prices also rose, up 2.5 percent for the month. Prices for imported
fuel continued to decrease on a 12-month basis, falling 28.8 percent between May 2015 and May 2016.
Petroleum prices declined 29.1 percent for the year ended in May, and natural gas prices decreased 38.4
percent over the same period.
All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel prices advanced 0.3 percent in May, after ticking up 0.1 percent in
April. The May increase was the largest 1-month rise since the index advanced 0.3 percent in March 2014.
The last time the index rose by more than 0.3 percent was a 0.4-percent increase in March 2012. Higher
prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; automotive vehicles; consumer goods; and foods, feeds,
and beverages all contributed to the May rise in nonfuel prices. The price index for nonfuel imports declined
1.7 percent over the past year.
All Exports: U.S. export prices rose 1.1 percent in May, following a 0.5-percent advance the previous
month. Higher agricultural prices and nonagricultural prices both contributed to the May and April
increases. The May advance in export prices was the largest monthly rise since the index increased 1.5
percent in March 2011. Overall export prices continued to decrease on a 12-month basis, although the 4.5-
percent drop between May 2015 and May 2016 was the smallest over-the-year decrease since the index fell
3.0 percent for the year ended in December 2014.
Agricultural Exports: Agricultural prices advanced 2.9 percent in May, the largest 1-month rise since the
index increased 4.8 percent in August 2012. The May increase in agricultural prices was driven by an 11.2-
percent advance in soybean prices and a 6.7-percent rise in corn prices. Higher prices for meat and nuts also
contributed to the May advance. Prices for agricultural exports fell 5.4 percent over the past 12 months.
Lower prices for nuts, meat, and wheat were the primary contributors to the decline.
All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural export prices increased 1.0 percent in May, after a
0.4-percent advance the previous month. In May, the increase was driven by rising prices for nonagricultural
industrial supplies and materials, capital goods, and consumer goods which more than offset falling
automotive vehicles prices. The price index for nonagricultural exports decreased 4.4 percent for the year
ended in May.
Imports by Locality of Origin: Prices for imports from Canada, the European Union, and Mexico all rose
in May, largely resulting from higher petroleum prices. Import prices from Canada advanced 4.2 percent in
May, after increasing 3.7 percent in April and 1.6 percent in March. The price index for imports from the
European Union rose 0.6 percent in May and 0.2 percent in April. Prices for imports from Mexico advanced
0.9 percent in May, following 0.3-percent and 0.2-percent rises the previous 2 months. Import prices from
Japan also rose in May, ticking up 0.1 percent for the second consecutive month. The price index for
imports from China recorded no change in May, after declining 0.2 percent in each of the 3 previous
months. Prices for imports from China have not recorded a monthly advance since the index rose 0.1
percent in December 2014.
Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices increased 1.7
percent in May, following a 0.4-percent advance in April. The May rise was led by a 5.5-percent increase in
unfinished metals prices that was in turn driven by higher prices for iron and steel mill products,
steelmaking materials, gold, and other precious metals.
Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mostly up in May. Automotive vehicle prices rose 0.2 percent,
driven by higher prices for non-engine parts. Consumer goods prices also advanced in May, ticking up 0.1
percent. The price index for capital goods recorded no change in May.
Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages increased 0.3 percent in May, after
rising 1.4 percent the previous month. In May, higher meat prices more than offset falling prices for
vegetables and fruit.
Transportation Services: Import air passenger fares increased 1.5 percent in May, following a 3.5-percent
advance the previous month. The May rise was driven by a 3.0-percent increase in Asian fares. Despite the
recent increases, import air passenger fares fell 0.5 percent over the past year. The price index for import air
freight declined 0.9 percent in May, after rising 0.9 percent in April. Import air freight prices declined 11.9
percent over the past 12 months.
Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials
prices advanced 3.0 percent in May, following a 1.2-percent increase the previous month. Both increases
were led by higher fuel prices.
Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in May. Capital goods prices ticked up 0.1 percent,
following a 0.2-percent increase in April. Prices for consumer goods also rose, advancing 0.2 percent in
May. In contrast, automotive vehicles prices edged down 0.1 percent in May.
Transportation Services: Export air passenger prices declined 1.0 percent in May, following a 6.0-percent
decrease in April. The decreases for both months were driven by lower European fares, which fell 3.4
percent in May and 11.4 percent in April. Export air passenger fares declined 10.6 percent for the year
ended in May. Export air freight prices recorded no change in May and fell 2.4 percent over the past year.