WASHINGTON – Import prices rose 0.2% in May, the eighth consecutive monthly increase, the Labor Department reported Friday.

That follows a revised 2.1% increase in April.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 0.7% decrease in May import prices.

The May increase was not due to rising petroleum prices, which fell 0.4%, their first decline since September 2010. Petroleum prices were up 6.6% in April. The May statistics captured some of the recent rapid fall in oil prices.

Food prices fell 0.5% in May, after a revised 2% increase in April.

Prices excluding petroleum rose 0.4% after a 0.6% increase the month before.

Export prices were up 0.2% in May, after a revised 0.9% increase in April.

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