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U.S. Import Price Index advanced 0.6% in February


Prices for U.S. imports advanced 0.6 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, after ticking up 0.1 percent in January and falling 1.4 percent in December. The February increase was led by higher fuel prices. U.S. export prices rose 0.6 percent in February following decreases of 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent the previous 2 months.

Imports
U.S. import prices increased 0.6 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since a 0.9-percent advance in May. Despite the February increase, import prices declined 1.3 percent from February 2018 to February 2019. Both fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the 12-month decrease.

Fuel Imports: Prices for import fuel rose 4.9 percent in February, after advancing 4.1 percent in January and falling 13.3 percent in December. The February increase was the largest monthly advance since a 6.1-percent rise in May. Higher prices for both petroleum and natural gas contributed to the February increase. Petroleum prices advanced 4.7 percent in February and prices for natural gas rose 10.5 percent over the same period. Despite the February increase, fuel prices fell 6.5 percent over the past 12 months. Prices for petroleum drove the 12-month decline, falling 7.9 percent. Natural gas prices partially offset the over-the-year decline, rising 17.5 percent.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices recorded no change in February following a 0.3-percent decrease in January. Rising prices for consumer goods and nonfuel industrial supplies and materials offset declining prices for foods, feeds, and beverages and capital goods. Prices for automotive vehicles recorded no change. The price index for nonfuel imports declined 0.6 percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year drop since September 2016.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices increased 0.3 percent in February. Higher prices for lumber, copper, and nickel contributed to the February advance.

Finished Goods: Import prices for finished goods were mixed in February. The price index for consumer goods rose 0.3 percent, driven by higher prices for medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical materials. Capital goods prices edged down 0.1 percent and automotive vehicle prices recorded no change.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages fell 0.8 percent in February. The monthly drop was led by a 7.3-percent decline in vegetable prices. A 2.1-percent rise in meat prices partially offset the decrease in foods, feeds, and beverages prices.

Exports
U.S. export prices rose 0.6 percent in February following a 0.5-percent decline in January and a 0.7-percent drop in December. Higher prices for both agricultural and nonagricultural commodities contributed to the February increase. The price index for U.S. exports advanced 0.3 percent over the past 12 months driven by higher nonagricultural prices.

Agricultural Exports: Export prices for agricultural commodities rose 0.3 percent in February, after falling 2.1 percent in January. Despite the February advance, overall agricultural prices fell 0.2 percent over the past 12 months. Lower prices for soybeans, meat, and nuts drove the 12-month decline.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural export prices increased 0.7 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since April 2018. Higher prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials led the February increase, with rising prices for each of the finished goods categories contributing to the advance. The price index for nonagricultural exports increased 0.3 percent for the year ended in February following a 0.2-percent decline for the 12-month period ended in January. The 12-month rise in February was driven mostly by higher prices for capital goods, offsetting lower prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials.

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices rose 1.6 percent in February, after recording a 1.4-percent decline in January. Higher prices for fuel led the February increase, with rising prices for gold contributing as well.

Finished Goods: Prices for finished goods were up in February. Capital goods prices rose 0.2 percent, primarily driven by higher prices for transportation equipment. Prices for export automotive vehicles increased 0.4 percent, the largest monthly advance since January 2018. In February, consumer goods prices rose 0.3 percent.

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality
Imports by Locality of Origin: Import prices from China recorded no change in February following a 0.3-percent drop in January and a 0.1-percent decline in December. Prices for imports from China decreased 0.7 percent for the year ended in February, the largest over-the-year drop since the index fell 0.8 percent in October 2017. The price index for imports from Japan ticked up 0.1 percent in February, after recording no change in January. Import prices from Canada rose 2.3 percent in February, and prices for imports from Mexico advanced 0.5 percent over the same period. The price index for imports from the European Union increased 0.4 percent in February following a 0.1-percent rise in January. The February advance was the largest monthly rise since the index increased 0.6 percent in April 2018.

Exports by Locality of Destination: The price index for exports to China advanced 0.7 percent in February following a 0.1-percent drop the previous month. Higher prices for both manufactured and nonmanufactured exports contributed to the increase. Export prices to Japan rose 1.2 percent in February, the largest monthly increase since the index advanced 1.4 percent in February 2018. Prices for exports to Canada increased 0.4 percent in February, after declining 2.7 percent the previous month. The price index for exports to Mexico rose 0.5 percent in February following a 1.4-percent decline in January. Export prices to the European Union increased 0.6 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since the index advanced 0.7 percent in April 2018.

Terms of Trade Indexes: Terms of Trade indexes are based on country, region, or grouping and measure the change in the purchasing power of exports relative to imports. The U.S. terms of trade with China rose 0.7 percent in February, after rising 0.2 percent in January and falling 0.5 percent in December. In February, the U.S. terms of trade rose because export prices to China advanced and import prices from China recorded no change. The U.S. terms of trade with Japan increased 1.1 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since the index advanced 1.2 percent in February 2018. Higher export prices to Japan more than offset rising import prices from Japan in February. The U.S. terms of trade index with Canada declined 1.9 percent in February, after a 10.2-percent decrease in January and a 6.7-percent advance in December. The index for U.S. terms of trade with Mexico recorded no change in February, and the U.S. terms of trade with the European Union rose 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month.

Import and Export Services
Imports: The price index for import air passenger fares decreased 2.0 percent in February following a 3.8-percent decline in January. A 9.0-percent drop in Asian fares and a 1.7-percent fall in European fares contributed to the decrease in February. Import air passenger fares declined 1.7 percent over the past year. Import air freight prices fell 6.3 percent in February; the drop was the largest monthly decrease since the index was first published on a monthly basis in December 2005. Despite the recent drop, import air freight prices rose 1.2 percent over the past year.

Exports: The index for export air passenger fares declined 8.9 percent in February, the largest monthly decrease since the index fell 11.6 percent in February 2017. The decline was led by a 13.6-percent drop in Asian fares and an 11.6-percent decrease in Latin American/Caribbean fares. Export air passenger fares decreased 4.0 percent from February 2018 to February 2019. Export air freight prices increased 0.4 percent in February, after ticking down 0.1 percent in both January and December. Export air freight prices advanced 3.8 percent over the past 12 months.





Posted: March 14, 2019 Thursday 08:30 AM




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