Import Prices Declined 0.3 Percent in August

U.S. import prices declined 0.3% in August following increases of 0.4% in July and 1.1% in June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The August downturn was led by lower fuel and nonfuel prices. In contrast, prices for U.S. exports advanced 0.4% in August, after increasing 1.1% in July.


The price index for U.S. imports decreased 0.3% in August, the first monthly decline for the index since a 0.1% drop in October 2020. Import prices advanced 9.0% over the past year, the smallest 12-month increase since March 2021. Higher fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the overall advance in import prices from August 2020 to August 2021.

Fuel Imports:

Import fuel prices declined 2.3% in August following a 3.0% increase in July. The August drop was the first monthly decrease since the index fell 1.0% in October 2020. The August downturn was mostly driven by lower petroleum prices. Prices for import petroleum declined 2.4% in August, after advancing 2.3% the previous month. The price index for natural gas also fell in August, decreasing 0.8% following a 16.6% increase in July. Despite the declines in August, prices for import fuel rose 56.5% over the past year. Petroleum prices increased 55.9% and prices for natural gas advanced 93.2% from August 2020 to August 2021.

All Imports Excluding Fuel:

Prices for nonfuel imports fell 0.1% in August, after ticking up 0.1% the previous month. The August drop was the first monthly decline since the index fell 0.2% in November 2020. In August, a drop in the price index for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials more than offset higher prices for automotive vehicles; foods, feeds, and beverages; capital goods; and consumer goods. Nonfuel import prices increased 5.6% for the year ended in August.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages:

Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages advanced 0.6% for the second consecutive month. In August, the rise was led by higher prices for fruit and coffee.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials:

Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices decreased 1.3% in August, after declining 1.2% in July. The August drop was primarily driven by lower selected building materials prices which more than offset higher chemicals prices.

Finished Goods:

Prices for each of the major finished goods categories advanced in August. Capital goods prices ticked up 0.1%, led by higher prices for computers, peripherals, and semiconductors, and oil drilling, mining, and construction machinery. Prices for automotive vehicles rose 0.3% in August and consumer goods prices advanced 0.1%.