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Prices paid by US importers fell 0.5 percent in April, pushed lower by cheaper imported oil

Prices paid by U.S. importers fell in April for the second straight month, pushed lower by another decline in imported petroleum. Falling import prices help keep inflation in check.

The Labor Department says import prices fell 0.5 percent last month compared with March, when prices had fallen 0.2 percent. It was the largest decline since a 0.6 percent drop in December. Imported petroleum products fell 1.9 percent in April. Excluding petroleum, import costs fell only 0.1 percent.

Import prices have fallen 2.6 percent over the 12 months ending in April.

The prices charged by U.S. exporters fell 0.7 percent in April compared with March. The decline was propelled by a 2.2 percent drop in U.S. farm exports. In the past year, export prices have fallen 0.9 percent.

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