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Import Prices Rise 0.2% in July on Higher Fuel Prices; Export Prices Advance 0.2%

Prices for U.S. imports increased 0.2% in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following a 1.1% decline the previous month. In July, rising fuel prices more than offset lower nonfuel prices. The price index for U.S. exports advanced 0.2% in July, after falling 0.6% in June and 0.3% in May.

Imports The price index for U.S. imports rose 0.2% in July, after a decrease of 1.1% the previous month. Prior to June, prices for U.S. imports advanced in each of the first five months of 2019. Despite the increases, import prices declined 1.8% over the past year. (See table 1.)

Fuel Imports: Prices for import fuel advanced 1.8% in July following a 7.3% drop in June. Import fuel prices previously increased 30.1% for the first five months of 2019. In July, higher petroleum prices more than offset lower natural gas prices. The price index for import petroleum rose 1.9%, after decreasing 7.0% the previous month. Overall fuel prices and petroleum prices both fell over the past year, declining 5.5% and 5.9%, respectively. Natural gas prices fell 1.4% in July, after declining 59.6% the previous three months. The recent decreases drove natural gas prices down 22.1% over the past 12 months.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: The price index for nonfuel imports edged down 0.1 percent in July following 0.3% decreases in each of the previous two months. The July decline was driven by lower prices for automotive vehicles; foods, feeds, and beverages; and capital goods. Those decreases were partially offset by rising prices for consumer goods and nonfuel industrial supplies and materials. Prices for nonfuel imports fell 1.3% from July 2018 to July 2019, led by declining prices for industrial supplies and materials and capital goods.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices rose 0.2% in July, after declining 0.7% the previous month. In July, a 1.0% increase in unfinished metals prices more than offset lower prices for chemicals and paper.

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in July. Consumer goods prices rose 0.2 percent, the first monthly advance since the index increased 0.3% in February. The July advance was driven by a 1.0% rise in the price index for medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical materials. In contrast, automotive vehicle prices and prices for capital goods both fell in July. Automotive vehicle prices declined 0.3%, after recording no change in June and May; prices for capital goods edged down 0.1 percent following a 0.2% drop in June.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for import foods, feeds, and beverages fell 0.5% in July, after decreasing 1.4 percent in June. The July decline was driven by a 5.8% drop in vegetable prices.

Table A. Percent change in Import and Export Price Indexes, selected categories

Month IMPORTS EXPORTS
All
imports
Fuel
imports
Nonfuel
imports
All
exports
Agri-
cultural
exports
Non-
agricultural
exports

2018

July

-0.1 0.8 -0.2 -0.5 -5.2 0.1

August

-0.4 -2.1 -0.2 -0.1 0.4 -0.2

September

0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 -1.3 0.2

October

0.5 3.3 0.1 0.5 -0.1 0.5

November

-1.6 -12.2 -0.2 -0.8 1.7 -1.0

December

-1.4 -13.3 0.0 -0.6 3.8 -1.1

2019

January

0.2 4.6 -0.3 -0.6 -2.1 -0.4

February

1.0 10.2 0.1 0.6 0.2 0.7

March

0.6 7.2 -0.2 0.7 0.9 0.7

April

0.2 (r)1.9 -0.1 0.1 (r)-1.4 0.2

May

(r)0.2 (r)3.3 -0.3 (r)-0.3 (r)-1.2 -0.2

June

(r)-1.1 (r)-7.3 -0.3 (r)-0.6 (r)2.5 (r)-1.0

July

0.2 1.8 -0.1 0.2 0.4 0.2

July 2017 to 2018

4.8 41.0 1.4 4.3 -1.9 5.0

July 2018 to 2019

-1.8 -5.5 -1.3 -0.9 3.7 -1.5

Footnotes
(r) Revised

Exports

U.S. export prices increased 0.2% in July, after decreasing 0.9%over the previous two months. Higher agricultural and nonagricultural prices both contributed to the advance. Despite the July increase, prices for U.S. exports continued to decrease on a 12-month basis, declining 0.9% from July 2018 to July 2019. (See table 2.)

Agricultural Exports: Agricultural export prices rose 0.4 percent in July following a 2.5% increase in June. The July advance was led by higher prices for soybeans, other animal feeds, nuts, and vegetables which more than offset lower prices for fruit and wheat. Prices for agricultural exports rose 3.7% over the past year, the largest 12-month increase since the index advanced 5.3% from June 2017 to June 2018.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: The price index for nonagricultural exports rose 0.2% in July, after a 1.0% decrease in June and a 0.2% drop in May. The July increase was primarily led by higher nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices, though rising consumer goods prices also contributed to the advance. In contrast, prices for capital goods and automotive vehicles declined. Nonagricultural export prices decreased 1.5% for the year ended in July, driven by falling prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials which more than offset advancing finished goods prices. Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices increased 0.7% in July following a 2.8% drop the previous month. The upturn was driven by a 2.3% advance in export fuel prices which previously declined 7.3% in June.

Finished Goods: Export finished goods prices were mixed in July. The price indexes for capital goods and automotive vehicles each edged down 0.1%, after recording no change in June. Prices for consumer goods increased 0.2% in July, driven by a 1.1% advance in medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical materials prices.

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality

Imports by Locality of Origin: Import prices from China edged down 0.1% in July, after decreasing 0.2% in June. Prices for imports from China have not recorded a monthly advance since ticking up 0.1% in May 2018. The price index for imports from China declined 1.6% on a 12-month basis for the second consecutive month in July. The last time the index fell more than 1.6% was a 1.9% drop in January 2017. Import prices from Japan recorded no change in July following a 0.1% decrease the previous month. Prices for imports from Japan edged down 0.1% for the year ended in July. Import prices from Mexico declined 0.2% in July, after falling 1.3% in June. In contrast, the price indexes for imports from Canada and the European Union both advanced 0.2% in July. Import prices from Canada previously fell 3.3% in June, and prices for imports from the European Union decreased 0.6% over the same period. (See table 7.)

Exports by Locality of Destination: Export prices to China rose 0.6% in July, after declining 0.6% the previous month. Despite the July advance, prices for exports to China decreased 1.7 percent over the past 12 months. The price index for exports to Japan rose 1.0% in July following a 0.1% decline in June. The index increased 0.2% from July 2018 to July 2019. Export prices to the European Union rose 0.8%, the largest monthly advance since the index increased 1.9% in January 2018. Prices for exports to Canada and Mexico also rose in July, advancing 0.6 percent and 0.5%, respectively. (See table 8.)

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 increased 0.7% in July following a 0.4% decline the previous month. In July, the increase resulted from both a rise in export prices to China and a decline in import prices from China. U.S. terms of trade with China edged down 0.1% for the year ended in July. The index for U.S. terms of trade with Japan advanced 1.0% in July, after recording no change in June. U.S. terms of trade with Japan rose 0.3% over the past 12 months. The U.S. terms of trade with the European Union increased 0.6% in July following a 0.2% decline in June and a 0.4% drop in May. U.S. terms of trade with Mexico and Canada also advanced in July, rising 0.8% and 0.3%, respectively. (See table 9.)

Import and Export Services

Imports: Import air passenger fares declined 9.9% in July following a 6.7% increase in June and a 6.9% advance in May. The decrease was the largest one-month drop since the index fell 10.6% in August 2017. In July, the decline was led by a 12.7% decrease in European fares and an 11.8% drop in Asian fares. Import air passenger fares fell 6.6% over the past 12 months. The price index for import air freight fell 1.8% in July, after edging down 0.1% in June. The July drop was the largest monthly decrease since the index fell 6.1% in February. The price index for import air freight declined 6.6% over the past 12 months. (See table 10.)

Exports: Export air passenger fares increased 3.3% in July, after rising 4.0% in June. Higher Latin American/Caribbean, European, and Asian fares all contributed to the advance in July. Despite the recent increases, export air passenger fares declined 1.4% from July 2018 to July 2019. Export air freight prices rose 0.6% in July, the largest monthly advance since the index increased 0.6% in October 2018. Prices for export air freight also advanced over the past year, rising 1.4%.

   

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