Import Price Index rises 0.1%; export index drops 0.3%

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

The U.S. Import Price Index edged up 0.1 percent in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on October 14, after a 1.6 percent increase in August. The September increase was led by higher non-fuel prices, which more than offset lower fuel prices. The price index for U.S. exports declined 0.3 percent in September following a 0.7 percent increase the previous month.

 

Imports

All Imports: Import prices ticked up 0.1 percent in September, led by a 0.6 percent increase in non-fuel prices. The price index for overall imports has only declined once since January, but despite the recent upward trend, import prices fell 12.0 percent for the year ended in September because of the sharp drop in the index at the end of 2008.  

 

Fuel Imports: Fuel prices decreased 1.8 percent in September following a 7.1 percent increase the previous month. The decline in fuel prices was partially driven by a 2.1 percent decline in crude prices; a 16.5 percent drop in natural gas prices also contributed to the overall decrease. Fuel prices fell 34.4 percent over the past year.

 

All Imports Excluding Fuel: In contrast, non-fuel import prices rose 0.6 percent in September, the largest one-month gain since a similar 0.6 percent advance in July 2008. The September rise in the price index for non-fuel imports followed a 0.3 percent increase in August and higher prices for non-fuel industrial supplies and materials, finished goods and food all contributed to the advance. Despite the recent increases, non-fuel prices fell 4.1 percent over the past 12 months, driven by a 5.2 percent drop in the index from September 2008 to March 2009.

 

Exports

All Exports: Export prices fell 0.3 percent for the second time in three months in September after rising 0.7 percent in August. The September downturn was led by falling agricultural prices. The price index for overall exports decreased 5.6 percent over the past year.  

 

Agricultural Exports: Prices for agricultural exports fell 2.8 percent in September and 16.6 percent over the past 12 months. Both declines were driven by falling prices for corn, soybeans and wheat. Corn prices decreased 7.4 percent in September and 37.0 percent over the past year; prices for soybeans dropped 10.8 percent for the month and 14.8 percent for the year ended in September; and the price index for wheat declined 12.1 percent in September and 38.5 percent over the past 12 months.

 

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Non-agricultural prices were unchanged in September following a 0.7 percent increase in August. Finished goods prices rose overall, but those increases were offset by a fuel-driven decline in non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials prices. The price index for non-agricultural exports fell 4.4 percent over the September 2008-2009 period.

 

Selected September Highlights

Import Prices

Foods, Feeds and Beverages: Foods, feeds and beverages prices rose 0.4 percent in September after rising 1.3 percent the previous month. The September advance was led by higher vegetable prices which more than offset a drop in coffee prices. The increase in vegetable prices followed declines in each of the four previous months.

 

Non-fuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Non-fuel industrial supplies and materials prices rose 2.8 percent and were driven by higher prices for unfinished metals that included copper, iron and steel mill products, aluminum, precious metals, nickel and zinc. Chemical prices also increased in September, led by rising fertilizer prices.

 

Finished Goods: Prices for each of the major finished goods areas-capital goods, consumer goods and automotive vehicles-ticked up 0.1 percent in September after recording mixed price movement the previous month. Capital goods prices excluding computers were unchanged for the second consecutive month, but rising computer prices in September led the overall price index for capital goods up for the month.

 

Imports by Locality of Origin: Prices for imports from Canada and the European Union increased 0.1 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, in September despite lower fuel prices. Manufactured articles led the increase for both indexes, rising 1.5 percent for import prices from Canada and 0.5 percent for prices for imports from the European Union. In contrast, the price index for imports from China edged down 0.1 percent for the second time in three months in September after increasing 0.2 percent in August.

 

Transportation Services: Import air passenger fares continued to trend downward in September, decreasing 1.1 percent. The decrease was led by lower Asian and Latin American/Caribbean fares. In contrast, air freight prices rose 0.7 percent.  

 

Export Prices

Non-agricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials prices fell 0.2 percent in September following a 2.1 percent increase the previous month. A drop in fuel prices in September more than compensated for rising metals prices.

 

Finished Goods: Capital goods prices and prices for consumer goods each edged up 0.1 percent in September while the price index for automotive vehicles was unchanged. The increase in capital goods prices was led by higher computer prices and rising prices for medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical materials drove the rise in the price index for consumer goods. The price index for computers, peripherals and semiconductors rose on a year-over-year basis for the first time since November 1990.

 

Transportation Services: Export air passenger fares fell 9.5 percent in September, led by sharp declines in European and Asian fares. The overall drop was a turnaround from August when export air passenger fares increased 9.1 percent. In contrast, the price index for export air freight advanced 0.8 percent.

 

Read the full report and view all of the data tables by clicking on the link below:

 

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ximpim.nr0.htm

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