Import and export prices both edged up for May, according to a Labor Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.
Import prices inched up 0.1% after falling a revised 0.5% in April. Analysts had expected an increase, but their 0.2% estimate proved too high. This latest report puts import prices back on a growth trajectory, which they had kept for five of the last six months. However, April's decline and May's growth were mostly representative of falling and rising fuel prices, respectively. Import fuel prices increased 0.5% for May after falling 2.7% the month before.
On a regional basis, China import prices proved especially noteworthy. China's prices jumped 0.3% for May, the largest month-to-month gain since January 2012, due primarily to a 0.7% increase in computer and electronic product manufacturing prices.
After dropping 1% in April, export prices also edged up 0.1% for May, missing analyst expectations of a 0.2% rise. Exports benefited from both agricultural and non-agricultural price increases, up 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively. The Labor Department noted a 4.6% jump in wheat prices, as well as a 0.1% increase in capital goods prices, as reasons behind May's export price increase.