A report released by the Labor Department on Friday showed an unexpected decrease in U.S. import prices in the month of June, although the report also showed a slightly bigger than expected increase in export prices during the month.
The Labor Department said import prices fell by 0.4 percent in June after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in May.
The pullback surprised economists, who had expected import prices to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
The unexpected drop was partly due to a pullback in prices for fuel imports, which slid by 0.7 percent in June after spiking by 6.1 percent in May.
Falling prices for both petroleum and natural gas contributed to the overall drop in prices for fuel imports during the month.
The report said prices for non-fuel imports also dipped by 0.3 percent in June after rising by 0.2 percent in the previous month.
Lower prices for foods, feeds, and beverages, consumer goods, capital goods, and automotive vehicles more than offset higher prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials
Meanwhile, the Labor Department also said export prices rose by 0.3 percent in June following a 0.6 percent increase in May. Economists had expected export prices to edge up by 0.2 percent.
Prices for non-agricultural exports increased by 0.4 percent in June after advancing by 0.6 percent in the previous month.
Rising prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials and capital goods more than offset lower consumer goods and automotive vehicles prices.
On the other hand, the report said prices for agricultural exports slumped by 1.0 percent in June following a 1.6 percent Jump in May.
The pullback in prices for agricultural exports was led by steep drops in prices for soybeans and corn prices, with a spike in fruit prices partially mitigating the decrease.
Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices were up by 4.3 percent in June, while export prices were up by 5.3 percent.