U.S. import prices recorded their biggest drop in nine months in November on declining petroleum costs, with renewed dollar strength threatening to keep imported inflation subdued.
The Labor Department said on Tuesday import prices fell 0.3 percent last month after a downwardly revised 0.4 percent gain in October. Last month's drop was the biggest since February and followed two straight months of increases.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices falling 0.4 percent last month after a previously reported 0.5 percent increase.
In the 12 months through November, import prices dipped 0.1 percent, the smallest decrease since July 2014, after slipping 0.3 percent in the 12 months through October.
The soft import price reading is unlikely to change expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates on Wednesday, given a tightening labor market and firming economy. The U.S. central bank's policy-setting committee was due to start its two-day meeting later on Tuesday.
The Fed hiked its benchmark overnight interest rate last December for the first time in nearly a decade.