U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes

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                               U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES - MARCH 2017                                

U.S. import prices declined 0.2 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, 
following increases in each of the 3 previous months. The March downturn was driven by lower fuel import 
prices which more than offset rising nonfuel prices. In contrast, the price index for U.S. exports increased 
0.2 percent in March, after advancing 0.3 percent in February.  

Imports

All Imports: Import prices fell 0.2 percent in March, after increasing 1.4 percent over the previous 3 
months. Prior to the March downturn, import prices trended up over most of the past 12 months, advancing 
4.2 percent between March 2016 and March 2017. In contrast, import prices fell 6.1 percent for the previous 
12-month period.      

Fuel Imports: The price index for import fuel declined 3.8 percent in March, the largest 1-month drop since 
the index fell 6.8 percent in February 2016. In March, a 3.6-percent decrease in petroleum prices and an 
11.0-percent decline in natural gas prices contributed to the overall fall in fuel prices. The March decrease in 
petroleum prices was the largest monthly decline since the index fell 4.1 percent in August, and the drop in 
natural gas prices was the largest 1-month decrease since the index declined 20.0 percent in March 2016. 
Despite the March downturn, the price index for import fuel increased 50.2 percent over the past year, after 
declining 36.7 percent the previous 12 months. The March 2017 over-the-year increase was driven by a 
52.1-percent advance in petroleum prices and a 53.8-percent rise in natural gas prices.                           

All Imports Excluding Fuel: In contrast to fuel prices, prices for nonfuel imports increased in March, 
rising 0.2 percent. The advance followed a 0.4-percent rise in February and was led by higher prices for 
nonfuel industrial supplies and materials and capital goods. Those increases more than offset falling prices 
for consumer goods and foods, feeds, and beverages. The price index for nonfuel imports advanced 1.0 
percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year advance since the index increased 1.3 percent in 
April 2012. The increase from March 2016 to March 2017 was driven by higher prices for nonfuel industrial 
supplies and materials and foods, feeds, and beverages, which more than offset 12-month declines for each 
of the major finished goods categories.                        
  
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

2016

March

0.4 8.5 -0.1 -0.1 -2.1 0.2

April

0.7 9.8 0.1 0.5 0.8 0.4

May

1.2 12.7 0.3 1.1 3.0 1.0

June

0.7 10.5 -0.2 0.8 2.5 0.5

July

0.1 -2.1 0.3 0.2 -0.3 0.3

August

-0.2 -3.4 0.0 -0.8 -3.4 -0.6

September

0.1 1.3 0.0 0.3 -1.0 0.5

October

0.5 6.6 0.0 0.2 0.5 0.2

November

-0.1 -1.1 -0.1 0.1 0.7 0.0

December

0.4 5.8 (r)0.0 0.4 -0.2 0.4

2017

January

0.6 (r)6.1 -0.1 0.2 (r)0.5 0.2

February

(r)0.4 (r)0.7 (r)0.4 0.3 (r)1.5 0.3

March

-0.2 -3.8 0.2 0.2 0.9 0.2

Mar. 2015 to 2016

-6.1 -36.7 -2.5 -6.2 -10.7 -5.8

Mar. 2016 to 2017

4.2 50.2 1.0 3.6 5.3 3.3

Footnotes
(r) Revised

Exports

All Exports: Prices for U.S. exports rose 0.2 percent in March, continuing an upward trend since the index 
last fell on a monthly basis in August. Higher prices for agricultural exports and nonagricultural exports 
each contributed to the advance in March. U.S. export prices also increased over the past year, rising 3.6 
percent for the year ended in March. That matched the 12-month advance recorded in December 2011 and 
was the largest over-the-year increase since the index rose 4.8 percent in November 2011.                                

Agricultural Exports: Export agricultural prices increased 0.9 percent in March, after rising 1.5 percent in 
February. The March advance was led by a 4.4-percent increase in meat prices and a 4.9-percent rise in nut 
prices. Prices for agricultural exports advanced 5.3 percent for the year ended in March, the largest 12-
month increase since the index rose 9.6 percent in June 2013. Higher soybean prices over the past year were 
the biggest contributor to the March 12-month rise in agricultural export prices.         

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: The price index for nonagricultural exports rose 0.2 percent in March 
following a 0.3-percent advance the previous month. In March, higher prices for nonagricultural industrial 
supplies and materials, consumer goods, capital goods, and nonagricultural foods all contributed to the 
overall advance in nonagricultural prices. Prices for nonagricultural exports rose 3.3 percent over the past 
year, matching the 12-month increase in February; those were the largest over-the-year advances since the 
index rose 4.0 percent in December 2011.

                                           SELECTED MARCH HIGHLIGHTS                                            

Import Prices

Imports by Locality of Origin: Import prices from China increased 0.2 percent in March, after ticking up 
0.1 percent the previous month. The February uptick was the first monthly rise since the index increased 0.1 
percent in December 2014, and the March advance was the largest rise since the index increased 0.3 percent 
in May 2014. Despite the recent advances, prices for imports from China fell 1.2 percent over the past 12 
months. The price index for imports from Japan increased 0.2 percent in March and rose 1.4 percent over 
the past year. Import prices from Mexico and the European Union also advanced in March, rising 0.4 
percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. In contrast, prices for imports from Canada declined 1.3 percent, led 
by lower fuel prices.                                     

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices rose 1.6 
percent in March following a 1.5-percent increase in February. Both monthly advances were driven by 
higher prices for metals and chemicals.              
 
Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in March. The price index for consumer goods declined 
0.2 percent, after rising 0.3 percent in February and 0.4 percent in January. In contrast, capital goods prices 
ticked up 0.1 percent following a 0.2-percent advance the previous month. Prices for import automotive 
vehicles recorded no change for the second consecutive month in March.                              
    
Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: The price index for import foods, feeds, and beverages declined 0.7 percent 
in March, after rising 1.0 percent the previous month. In March, the decrease was led by lower prices for 
food oils, fruits, and vegetables.                     

Transportation Services: Import air passenger fares decreased 4.0 percent in March, the largest monthly 
decline since a 6.0-percent drop in August. The March decrease was driven by an 8.6-percent decline in 
European fares. The index for import air passenger fares fell 2.7 percent for the year ended in March, led by 
a 5.9-percent drop in European fares. Prices for import air freight rose 0.6 percent in March and 7.6 percent 
over the past 12 months.

Export Prices

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials 
prices advanced 0.3 percent for the second consecutive month in March. The March increase was driven by 
rising prices for nonferrous metals and chemicals.              
 
Finished Goods: Finished goods prices increased overall in March. Consumer goods prices advanced 0.3 
percent, the largest rise since a 0.5-percent advance in July 2016. Despite the increase in March, export 
consumer goods prices fell 2.2 percent over the past year. Prices for capital goods rose 0.1 percent following 
0.2-percent increases in each of the past 3 months. The price index for export automotive vehicles recorded 
no change in March.                       

Transportation Services: Export air passenger fares increased 4.3 percent in March following an 11.6-
percent decline in February. Higher Latin American/Caribbean, Asian, and European fares all contributed to 
the March advance in export air passenger fares. The index for export air passenger fares fell 0.3 percent for 
the year ended in March. Export air freight prices increased 1.9 percent in March and 3.7 percent over the 
past year.                
		
Import and Export Price Index data for April 2017 are scheduled for release on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 
8:30 a.m. (EDT).    


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Last Modified Date: April 12, 2017