U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes summary

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                         U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES - NOVEMBER 2018

U.S. import prices declined 1.6 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, 
following a 0.5-percent rise the previous month. The November drop was primarily led by lower fuel prices. 
The price index for U.S. exports fell 0.9 percent in November, after advancing 0.5 percent in October.

Imports

Prices for U.S. imports decreased 1.6 percent in November, the largest monthly decline since a 1.8-percent 
drop in August 2015. Despite the November drop, import prices increased 0.7 percent over the past 12 
months, the smallest over-the-year advance since the index increased 0.2 percent from November 2015 to 
November 2016. (See table 1.)

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices decreased 11.0 percent in November following a 3.2-percent rise the 
previous month. The November drop was the largest 1-month decline since the index fell 15.6 percent in 
January 2016. A 12.1-percent decrease in petroleum prices led the November decline in fuel prices and was 
the largest monthly drop since petroleum prices fell 17.2 percent in January 2016. The November decline in 
petroleum prices more than offset a 12.8-percent advance in natural gas prices that followed a 22.3-percent 
increase for that index in October. Despite the decrease in November, fuel prices rose 4.6 percent over the 
past year. The price index for petroleum increased 4.4 percent for the year ended in November, and natural 
gas prices advanced 11.6 percent over the same period.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Prices for nonfuel imports fell 0.3 percent in November, after ticking up 0.1 
percent in October. Lower foods, feeds, and beverages prices were the largest factor for the November 
decline in nonfuel prices, although prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials and capital goods also 
decreased. The price index for nonfuel imports increased 0.3 percent over the past 12 months, driven by 
higher prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; consumer goods; and automotive vehicles.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices fell 0.4 percent 
in November, after recording no change the previous month. The decline was led by a 0.7-percent drop in 
unfinished metals prices and a 1.4-percent drop in prices for selected building materials.

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices recorded little movement in November. The price index for capital 
goods edged down 0.1 percent and prices for consumer goods and automotive vehicles each recorded no 
change.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages declined 2.2 percent in November 
following advances of 2.2 percent in October and 2.0 percent in September. The November downturn was 
led by a 10.8-percent drop in fruit 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

2017

November

1.0 9.8 0.0 0.5 -0.7 0.7

December

0.2 3.3 -0.2 0.1 -0.3 0.0

2018

January

0.8 3.3 0.5 0.7 0.0 0.8

February

0.2 -1.8 0.4 0.2 0.6 0.2

March

-0.2 -2.6 0.1 0.4 3.2 0.1

April

0.5 4.0 0.1 0.5 -1.1 0.7

May

0.9 6.1 0.2 0.7 1.6 0.6

June

0.0 2.6 -0.3 0.2 -1.0 0.3

July

-0.1 0.8 -0.2 -0.5 -5.2 0.1

August

-0.4 -2.1 -0.2 -0.1 (r)0.4 -0.2

September

(r)0.0 (r)-0.1 0.0 0.0 (r)-1.2 0.2

October

0.5 (r)3.2 (r)0.1 (r)0.5 (r)-0.2 0.5

November

-1.6 -11.0 -0.3 -0.9 1.8 -1.0

Nov. 2016 to 2017

3.5 24.8 1.5 3.1 2.1 3.3

Nov. 2017 to 2018

0.7 4.6 0.3 1.8 -1.7 2.2

Footnotes
(r) Revised


Exports 

Prices for U.S. exports declined 0.9 percent in November, the largest 1-month decrease since the index fell 
0.9 percent in January 2016 and 1.1 percent in December 2015. Lower nonagricultural prices in November 
more than offset rising agricultural prices. Despite the November decline, U.S. export prices increased 1.8 
percent over the past year. (See table 2.)

Agricultural Exports: The price index for agricultural exports rose 1.8 percent in November, after falling 
0.2 percent in October and 1.2 percent in September. The November advance was the largest increase since 
the index rose 3.2 percent in March. Higher prices for fruit, soybeans, and corn all contributed to the 
November increase in agricultural prices. Despite the November increase, agricultural export prices declined 
1.7 percent from November 2017 to November 2018. A 10.7-percent drop in soybeans prices and a 12.3-
percent decline in nut prices over the past year were the primary factors for the decrease in overall 
agricultural prices.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural export prices fell 1.0 percent in November following 
a 0.5-percent increase the previous month and a 0.2-percent advance in September. The November drop was 
the largest monthly decrease since the index declined 1.1 percent in December 2015. Lower nonagricultural 
industrial supplies and materials prices led the November decrease in nonagricultural export prices, with 
falling prices for consumer goods and automotive vehicles also contributing to the decline. Despite the 
decline in November, prices for nonagricultural exports increased 2.2 percent over the past 12 months.

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and 
materials decreased 3.1 percent in November, the largest 1-month decline since the index fell 3.1 percent in 
December 2015. The November drop was driven by an 8.6-percent decrease in export fuel prices.

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mostly down in November. The price indexes for consumer 
goods and automotive vehicles each edged down 0.1 percent. Prices for capital goods recorded no change in 
November and in each of the previous 2 months, though the index rose 1.5 percent for the year ended in 
November and has not fallen on a monthly basis since a 0.1-percent decline in October 2016.



Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality

Imports by Locality of Origin: The price index for imports from China edged down 0.1 percent in 
November, after falling 0.3 percent the previous month. A decrease in the computer and electronic product 
manufacturing price index was a primary contributor to both the November and October declines. Prices for 
imports from China have not recorded a monthly rise since ticking up 0.1 percent in May and fell 0.3 
percent for the year ended in November. Import prices from Japan decreased 0.1 percent in November 
following a 0.1-percent increase in October. The price index for imports from Japan rose 1.2 percent over 
the past year. In November, prices for imports from Canada declined 3.4 percent, from Mexico 1.4 percent, 
and from the European Union 0.5 percent. Lower petroleum prices in November contributed to the declines 
in each of the indexes. (See table 7.)

Exports by Locality of Destination: Prices for exports to China edged down 0.1 percent in November 
following a 0.8-percent advance in October and a 1.7-percent decline in September. The price index for 
exports to Japan recorded no change in November, after a 0.2-percent advance and a 0.3-percent decrease in 
the previous 2 months. Export prices to Canada rose 0.3 percent in November. The price index for exports 
to Canada has not recorded a monthly decline since July. Prices for exports to the European Union fell 0.4 
percent in November, after rising 0.4 percent in October. Export prices to Mexico decreased 1.3 percent in 
November following a 1.1-percent increase the previous month. The November declines for the price 
indexes for exports to the European Union and Mexico were both the largest 1-month drops since the 
indexes were first published in December 2017. (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 
recorded no change in November as both export prices to China and import prices from China fell 0.1 
percent for the month. The index for U.S. terms of trade with Japan ticked up 0.1 percent for the second 
consecutive month, after edging down 0.1 percent in September. The U.S. terms of trade with Canada rose 
3.9 percent in November, the largest 1-month change since the index was first published in December 2017. 
The indexes for U.S. terms of trade with the European Union and Mexico rose 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, 
respectively. (See table 9.)

Import and Export Services

Imports: Import air passenger fares advanced 0.7 percent for the second consecutive month in November. 
Those increases followed a 10.7-percent increase in September. Higher European and Latin 
American/Caribbean fares each contributed to the November rise. The index for import air passenger fares 
also advanced 0.7 percent over the past 12 months. Import air freight prices rose 1.2 percent in November, 
after increasing 2.4 percent the previous month. Prices for import air freight advanced 4.7 percent over the 
past year. (See table 10.)

Exports: The index for export air passenger fares ticked up 0.1 percent in November, after falling 8.0 
percent for the 3 months ended in October. Export air passenger fares fell 3.3 percent over the past year, 
matching the largest 12-month decline since a 5.8-percent drop in December 2017. Export air freight prices 
declined 0.3 percent in November, the largest 1-month decrease since the index fell 6.2 percent in December 
2017. Prices for export air freight declined 3.1 percent for the year ended in November.

Import and Export Price Index data for December are scheduled for release on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 
at 8:30 a.m. (EST).

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Last Modified Date: December 13, 2018