WASHINGTON - U.S. import prices dropped 0.5% in April after a revised gain of 1.5% in March, originally reported as a 1.3% increase, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The April decline, driven by lower fuel prices, more than offset a small increase in non-fuel prices, and was more severe than the 0.1% median decrease projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

Export prices rose 0.4% in April, as agricultural and non-agricultural prices each contributed to the gain.

Prices of fuel imports fell 2.1% after being revised to a 4.4% jump in March, originally reported as a 3.8% gain.

Nonfuel import prices increased 0.1% after also being revised to a 0.5% gain in the previous month.

Year over year, import prices were up 0.5% for April, the smallest yearly increase for the index since it rose by the same amount between October 2008 and October 2009.

The revised yearly gain for March was 3.6%, down from the 3.4% year over year change reported last month.

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