U.S. import prices unexpectedly drop in June

U.S. import prices recorded their biggest drop in more than two years last month as prices for petroleum products fell and a strong dollar weighed on the costs of other goods.

Figures released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department revealed import prices fell 0.4% last month, the largest decline since February 2016. Data for May was revised to show import prices increasing 0.9% instead of rising 0.6% as previously reported.

Economists had forecast import prices edging up 0.1% in June. In the 12 months through June, import prices increased 4.3% after advancing 4.5% in May.

Last month, prices for imported petroleum decreased 0.8% after accelerating 7.4% in May. Excluding petroleum, import prices slipped 0.3% in June after gaining 0.1% in the prior month. Import prices excluding petroleum rose 1.4% in the 12 months through June.

The decline in import prices excluding petroleum likely reflects the dollar's strength.