The numbers: U.S. import prices rose 0.3% in September to mark the smallest gain in five months, signaling that a rebound in inflation over the summer could be petering out.
Excluding fuel, prices of imported goods climbed 0.6%, the government said Thursday.
U.S. export prices increased 0.6% in September.
What happened: The cost of oil fell 2.9% last month, reflecting the first decline since April.
Yet the cost of food, autos, consumer goods and most industrial supplies increased in September, though generally at a more modest pace compared to the summer.
Even after the recent increases, however, import prices are still 1.1% lower compared to a year earlier.
If fuel is omitted, import prices have risen a mild 1.5% over the past year.
Big picture: Prices of most goods and services sank in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic as the world economy faltered and the global trading system suffered a massive disruption.
Prices are unlikely to full recover, economists say, until the pandemic fades and the global economy regains its health.
Read: U.S. jobless claims climb 53,000 to 7-week high of 898,000
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
fell in Thursday trades.