U.S. Import Price Index up 0.7%; export prices 0.3% higher

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

The U.S. Import Price Index rose 0.7 percent in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on November 13, led by a 1.8 percent increase in fuel prices. The rise followed a 0.2 percent increase in September. U.S. export prices advanced 0.3 percent in October after decreasing 0.2 percent the previous month.



All Imports: The increase in U.S. imports in October continued the recent upward trend for the index. Import prices have risen in seven of the past eight months and were up 8.1 percent over that period. Despite the recent increases, import prices declined 5.7 percent for the year ended in October driven by a 12.8 percent drop in prices between October 2008 and January 2009.    


Fuel Imports: Prices for import fuel advanced 1.8 percent in October after a 1.5 percent decline the previous month. A 24.1 percent increase in natural gas prices led the overall advance in October, while petroleum prices were also a contributing factor, advancing 0.9 percent. However, the price indexes for natural gas and petroleum both declined over the past year, falling 46.4 percent and 12.2 percent, respectively.


All Imports Excluding Fuel: Non-fuel import prices rose 0.4 percent in October as higher prices for industrial supplies and materials, finished goods and foods, feeds and beverages all contributed to the advance. Prices for non-fuel imports rose between 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent in each of the past three months, the largest monthly advances since a 0.6 percent increase in July 2008. The index declined 2.9 percent over the past 12 months as sharp decreases at the end of 2008 more than offset the recent rises.



All Exports: Export prices rose 0.3 percent after falling 0.2 percent in September. Rising non-agricultural prices more than offset a drop in the price index for agricultural exports. Prices of overall exports decreased 3.4 percent for the October 2008-2009 period.      


Agricultural Exports: Agricultural prices fell for the third time in the past four months in October, declining 1.0 percent after recording a 3.0 percent decrease in September. Falling prices for soybeans and wheat, down 7.5 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively, continued to drive agricultural prices lower. In contrast, a 9.2 percent rise in corn prices partially offset those declines. The price index for overall agricultural prices decreased 10.0 percent for the year ended in October.


All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Prices for non-agricultural exports increased 0.3 percent in October and have risen 2.3 percent since March. Higher prices for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials and most of the major finished goods areas contributed to the advance. Despite the recent increases, a 4.6 percent drop in prices for the final two months of 2008 drove the index down 2.7 percent over the past year.


Selected October Highlights


Import Prices

Non-fuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: The price index for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials increased 1.6 percent in October after rising 2.8 percent the previous month. Rising prices for metals and chemicals were a major factor for the increases in both October and September.


Finished Goods: Prices for each of the major finished goods areas rose in October. Prices for automotive vehicles advanced 0.6 percent, the largest increase since a 0.6 percent rise in December 2007. The October increase was partially attributable to year-end model changeovers. The price index for consumer goods advanced 0.3 percent, the largest gain for the index since a 0.6 percent increase in April 2008. Capital goods prices advanced 0.2 percent, the largest increase since a similar 0.2 percent rise in July 2008. The increase was led by higher prices for electrical generating equipment.  


Foods, Feeds and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds and beverages ticked up 0.1 percent in October. The modest advance followed increases of 0.5 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively, in September and August. For October, higher prices for fruit and coffee more than offset falling meat and fish prices. 


Imports by Locality of Origin: Higher fuel prices drove import prices from Canada in October, up 1.2 percent. The October increase followed advances of 0.9 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, in the previous two months. The price indexes of imports from the European Union, Mexico, China and Japan also rose in October – up 0.6 percent, 0.7 percent, 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. 


Transportation Services: Import air passenger fares advanced 6.4 percent in October, the first increase since a 13.0 percent jump in June. The October advance was led by an 8.6 percent rise in European fares.  Import air freight prices also increased in October, rising 1.5 percent after advancing 0.7 percent the previous month.     


Export Prices

Non-agricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: The price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials increased 1.0 percent in October after ticking up a modest 0.1 percent in September. The October advance was driven by higher prices for metals, chemicals, iron and steel mill products and fuel.


Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in October. Prices for capital goods and for automotive vehicles rose 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. In contrast, consumer goods prices edged down 0.1 percent.  


Transportation Services: Export air passenger fares rose 4.9 percent in October following a decline of 9.1 percent in September and an increase of 9.1 percent in August.  Rising prices for European fares and Latin American/Caribbean fares contributed to the October advance.  In contrast, export air freight prices fell 0.2 percent in October, the first monthly decline for the index since a 1.2 percent drop in June.


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



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