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U.S. Import Price Index declined 0.2% in December 2021


U.S. import prices declined 0.2 percent in December, after rising 0.7 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In December, lower fuel prices more than offset higher prices for nonfuel imports. Prices for U.S. exports fell 1.8 percent in December following a 0.8-percent advance in November.

Imports
The price index for U.S. imports declined 0.2 percent in December, the first monthly decrease since the index fell 0.2 percent in August 2021. Despite the December drop, U.S. import prices increased 10.4 percent over the past year. The advance in 2021 was the largest calendar-year rise since import prices increased 10.6 percent in 2007.

Fuel Imports: Prices for import fuel decreased 6.5 percent in December, the first monthly decline since August 2021 and the largest drop since a 30.9-percent decrease in April 2020. In December, a 6.0-percent fall in petroleum prices and a 13.7-percent decline in natural gas prices drove the drop in import fuel prices. Despite the December decrease, import fuel prices rose 62.7 percent in 2021, the largest calendar-year advance since the index increased 114.7 percent in 1999. The price indexes for petroleum and natural gas also rose over the past year, advancing 62.0 percent and 86.9 percent, respectively.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices increased 0.5 percent for the third consecutive month in December. Prices for nonfuel imports have not recorded a monthly decline since November 2020. Higher prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; consumer goods; foods, feeds, and beverages; automotive vehicles; and capital goods all contributed to the rise in nonfuel import prices. The price index for nonfuel imports advanced 6.4 percent for the year ended in December, the largest calendar-year increase since the series started in 2002.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages rose 0.5 percent in December following a 0.2-percent drop the previous month. Higher fruit prices in December led the increase.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: The price index for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials advanced 1.7 percent in December, after rising 1.9 percent in November. The December increase was driven by higher prices for selected building materials and chemicals.

Finished Goods: Prices for each of the major finished goods categories advanced in December. Consumer goods prices rose 0.5 percent, the largest monthly advance since February 2018. Prices for automotive vehicles increased 0.2 percent in December, and capital goods prices ticked up 0.1 percent.

Exports
U.S. export prices decreased 1.8 percent in December, after advancing 0.8 percent in November and 1.9 percent in October. The December decline was the largest 1-month drop since the index fell 3.5 percent in April 2020. Despite the December decrease, U.S. export prices rose 14.7 percent from December 2020 to December 2021. The 2021 advance was the largest calendar-year increase since the series was first published in 1984.

Agricultural Exports: Prices for agricultural exports increased 0.8 percent in December following a 1.1-percent rise in November and a 1.2-percent advance in October. In December, higher prices for soybeans, fruit, cotton, dairy products, and corn more than offset lower prices for nuts and meat. Agricultural export prices increased 21.7 percent for the year ended in December, the largest calendar-year advance since the index rose 23.3 percent in 2007.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: The price index for nonagricultural exports fell 2.1 percent in December, after increasing 0.6 percent in November and 2.0 percent in October. The December decline is the largest monthly drop since the index decreased 3.5 percent in April 2020. Lower prices in December for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials and nonagricultural food more than offset higher prices for capital goods and consumer goods. Prices for nonagricultural exports advanced 13.8 percent over the past year despite the December decline.

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices decreased 5.3 percent in December, the largest 1-month decline since the index fell 10.4 percent in April 2020. The December decline was led by an 11.6-percent drop in fuel prices and a 2.2-percent decrease in nonferrous metal prices.

Finished Goods: Prices for most of the major finished goods categories advanced in December. The price index for capital goods increased 0.3 percent for the month and 3.7 percent over the past year. The 2021 increase was the largest calendar-year rise since 1981. Consumer goods prices rose 0.4 percent for the second consecutive month in December. Prices for automotive vehicles were unchanged in December, after rising 0.2 percent the previous month.

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality
Imports by Locality of Origin: Prices for imports from China advanced 0.6 percent in December, after increasing 0.3 percent in November. The December rise was the largest 1-month advance since July 2021. Import prices from China increased 4.7 percent over the past 12 months, the largest calendar-year advance since the series was first published in 2004. The price index for imports from Japan was unchanged in December following a 0.1-percent increase the previous month. Prices for imports from Japan rose 1.9 percent for the year ended in December, the largest calendar-year increase since 2011. In contrast, import prices from Canada decreased 2.4 percent in December, after rising 2.1 percent in November and 5.7 percent in October. Prices for imports from Mexico also fell in December, declining 0.6 percent. Import prices from the European Union were unchanged in December.

Exports by Locality of Destination: The price index for exports to China decreased 1.4 percent in December, after increasing 1.1 percent in November. The December decline was the largest monthly drop in export prices to China since a 2.5-percent decrease in April 2020. Prices for exports to China advanced 9.4 percent over the past year. Export prices to Japan fell 2.0 percent in December, the first 1-month decline since August 2021 and the largest monthly drop since a 3.5-percent decrease in April 2020. Prices for exports to Canada declined 1.5 percent in December, the first 1-month drop for the index since a 3.0-percent decrease in April 2020. The price indexes for exports to Mexico and the European Union also fell in December, declining 3.0 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

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. U.S. terms of trade with China fell 2.0 percent in December, the largest monthly decline for the index since a 2.6-percent drop in April 2020. In December, both higher prices for imports from China and lower export prices to China contributed to the decline in the U.S. terms of trade. Despite the December decrease, U.S. terms of trade with China advanced 4.6 percent over the past year. The index for U.S. terms of trade with Japan also declined 2.0 percent in December following increases of 1.0 percent and 1.1 percent the 2 previous months. In contrast, U.S. terms of trade with Canada rose 0.9 percent in December, after declining 1.6 percent in November and 4.0 percent in October. The index for U.S. terms of trade with Mexico fell 2.4 percent in December and U.S. terms of trade with the European Union declined 1.0 percent over the same period.

Import and Export Services
Imports: Import air passenger fares increased 5.1 percent in December, the largest 1-month advance since the index rose 9.6 percent in June 2021. The increase in December was led by higher Asian and Latin American/Caribbean fares which more than offset lower European fares. The index for import air passenger fares advanced 11.1 percent in 2021. Import air freight prices declined 13.1 percent in December, after advancing 14.1 percent the previous month. Despite the December decrease, prices for import air freight rose 10.6 percent over the past 12 months.

Exports: The index for export air passenger fares increased 2.3 percent in December following a 0.9-percent advance in November. The December rise in export air passenger fares was the largest monthly increase since an 8.2-percent advance in July 2021. Higher Latin American/Caribbean, Asian, and European fares all contributed to the December advance. Export air passenger fares rose 11.9 percent from December 2020 to December 2021, the largest calendar-year increase since 2011. Prices for export air freight declined 1.3 percent in December following a 0.4-percent rise in November. Despite the December drop, export air freight prices advanced 4.3 percent over the past year.




Posted: January 14, 2022 Friday 08:30 AM




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