RTTNews - Friday morning, the Labor Department released its report on import and export prices in the month of May, showing another notable increase in import prices amid a jump in the prices of petroleum imports.

The report showed that import prices rose 1.3 percent in May following a revised 1.1 percent increase in April. The continued increase in prices was largely due to an 8.3 percent increase in petroleum import prices.

Excluding the increase in the prices of petroleum imports, import prices edged up by a much more modest 0.2 percent in May after slipping 0.2 percent in April. The modest growth still marked the first increase in non-petroleum import prices since July of 2008.

On an annual basis, total import prices in May were down 17.6 percent compared to the same month a year ago, while non-petroleum import prices were down 5.8 percent.

Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak noted, With the recent weakness in the U.S. dollar and continued strength in commodity prices, the downward trend in Import Prices should reverse.

Additionally, the Labor Department said that export prices rose 0.6 percent in May after edging up 0.4 percent in April. A 3.6 percent increase in the prices of agricultural exports contributed to the moderate increase.

Export prices increased by a more modest 0.3 percent excluding the increase in agricultural export prices compared to a 0.2 percent increase in the previous month.

Compared to the same month a year ago, total export prices were down 6.5 percent, while non-agricultural export prices fell 5.6 percent.

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