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.
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The Labor Department said on Thursday import prices increased 1.3 percent last month, the largest gain since March 2012, after sliding by a revised 0.2 percent in April.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices rising 0.8 percent after a previously reported 0.3 percent drop in April. In the 12 months through May prices fell 9.6 percent.
Last month, imported petroleum prices surged 12.7 percent percent, the biggest increase since June 2009, after increasing 1.8 percent in April.
Import prices excluding petroleum were unchanged in May. The dollar, which has gained about 13.2 percent against the currencies of the United States' main trading partners since June, is dampening underlying imported inflation pressures.
Imported food prices rose 0.3 percent after declining 1.0 percent in April.
The report also showed export prices rose 0.6 percent last month, the biggest gain since March 2014, after falling 0.7 percent in April. Export prices declined 5.9 percent in the 12 months through May. (Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)