The following is the text of the U.S. import and export price index report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
U.S. import prices rose 0.3 percent in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, after ticking down 0.1 percent in December. Higher prices for both fuel and nonfuel imports contributed to the January increase. Prices for U.S. exports also advanced in January, rising 0.2 percent following a 0.5 percent decline the previous month.
Overall import prices increased for the second time in three months in January, rising 0.3 percent following a 0.1 percent downturn in December and a 0.7 percent advance in November. Prior to the past three months, import prices had trended mostly down between June and October. However, the price index for overall imports rose 7.1 percent over the past 12 months. In January, both a 1.0 percent increase in fuel prices and a 0.1 percent uptick in nonfuel prices contributed to the monthly rise.
Prices for import fuels rose 1.0 percent in January after declining 0.6 percent the previous month and increasing 3.3 percent in November. The January advance was driven by a 1.2 percent rise in petroleum prices. In contrast, prices for natural gas decreased a further 5.8 percent in January following a 4.1 percent drop in December. Fuel prices increased 20.8 percent for the year ended in January, led by a 23.7 percent advance in petroleum prices, the largest component of import fuels, which more than offset a 22.5 percent decline in the price index for natural gas.
All Imports Excluding Fuel:
Nonfuel import prices ticked up 0.1 percent in January after a 0.2 percent advance the previous month. In January, prices for the major nonfuel categories were mixed. The price indexes for foods, feeds, and beverages; capital goods; and automotive vehicles rose for the month, while prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; and consumer goods declined. Prices for nonfuel imports increased 2.9 percent over the past year.
The price index for overall exports rose 0.2 percent in January, led by higher agricultural prices, after declining 0.5 percent in December. Export prices advanced 2.5 percent for the year ended in January, the smallest year-over-year increase since a 0.4 percent rise between November 2008 and November 2009.
Prices for agricultural exports rose 1.1 percent in January after falling 7.3 percent in the final quarter of 2011. An upturn in soybean and corn prices, which increased 6.3 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively, drove the January advance. Agricultural prices fell 1.0 percent over the last 12 months as lower prices for soybeans, cotton, and wheat more than offset rising prices for meat, vegetable, and corn.
All Exports Excluding Agriculture:
Nonagricultural prices were unchanged in January after decreasing in each of the previous three months. In January, the price indexes for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials and for consumer goods decreased, while prices for capital goods and automotive vehicles rose. The price index for nonagricultural exports increased 3.0 percent for the January 2011-12 period, as price increases for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials, and each of the major finished goods categories all contributed to the advance.
SELECTED JANUARY HIGHLIGHTS Import Prices Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials:
Prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials fell 0.8 percent in January, led by a 1.9 percent drop in unfinished metals prices and a 0.7 percent decline in chemicals prices. Decreasing prices for nonmonetary gold and other precious metals were the main contributors to the lower metals prices, and a 5.4 percent fall in fertilizer prices drove the decline in the price index for import chemicals.
Prices for each of the major finished goods categories were mixed in January. Prices for capital goods and automotive vehicles rose for the month, increasing 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. In contrast, consumer goods prices fell for the first time in ten months, decreasing 0.4 percent in January.
Foods, Feeds, and Beverages:
Foods, feeds, and beverages prices rose 2.3 percent in January following a 0.4 percent decline in December. The January increase was led by 14.6 percent advance in the price index for import vegetables.
Imports by Locality of Origin:
Prices for imports from China advanced 0.3 percent in January and 3.5 percent over the past year. The price index for imports from China has not recorded a monthly decrease since a 0.2 percent drop in June 2010. Import prices from Mexico and Japan also rose in January increasing 1.2 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. In contrast, prices for imports from the European Union fell 1.1 percent in January and import prices from Canada declined 0.5 percent.
Import air passenger fares increased 0.2 percent in January following a 1.6 percent advance the previous month. The January rise was led by a 4.8 percent increase in European fares, which more than offset declining Asian and Latin American/Caribbean fares. The price index for import air freight decreased 3.3 percent in January.
Export Prices Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials:
The price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials fell 0.4 percent in January after a 0.7 percent decrease in December. The January drop in nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices was led by a 6.3 percent decrease in nonferrous metals prices, unlike December when the decline was driven by lower fuel prices. Export fuel prices rose 1.3 percent in January.
Both capital goods prices and prices for automotive vehicles advanced in January, rising 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. In contrast, consumer goods prices fell 0.4 percent in January following a 0.5 percent drop over the fourth quarter of 2011. The January decline was driven by lower prices for medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical preparatory materials.
The index for export air passenger fares increased 3.2 percent after a 3.8 percent rise in December. Higher Asian and Latin American/Caribbean fares contributed to the advances in each month. Export air freight prices rose 1.6 percent after ticking up 0.1 percent the previous month.
Import and Export Price Index data for February 2012 are scheduled for release on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).