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Economic News Release
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U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes summary

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until
8:30 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, May 14, 2020

Technical information:  (202) 691-7101 * MXPinfo@bls.gov * www.bls.gov/mxp                      USDL-20-0921
Media contact:	   	(202) 691-5902 * PressOffice@bls.gov

                            U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES - APRIL 2020

U.S. import prices declined 2.6 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, 
following a 2.4-percent decrease in March. Both monthly declines were led by falling fuel prices. Prices for 
U.S. exports fell 3.3 percent in April, after decreasing 1.7 percent the previous month.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
           Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on April 2020 Import and Export Price Index Data
           
The Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make any changes to either the collection method or estimation 
methodology for the April release of U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes. Survey response rates for April 
were 6.5 percentage points lower than those in April 2019. A small number of indexes that are normally 
published were not published in April. Additional information is available at 
www.bls.gov/bls/import-export-price-indexes-covid19-impacts-april-2020.htm.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Imports

U.S. import prices fell 2.6 percent in April, the largest monthly drop since the index declined 3.2 percent in 
January 2015. The April decrease followed a 2.4-percent drop in March and a 0.7-percent decline in 
February. Prices for U.S. imports also fell on a 12-month basis, decreasing 6.8 percent for the year ended in 
April. The decrease was the largest 12-month drop since the index declined 8.3 percent from December 
2014 to December 2015. (See table 1.)

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices declined 31.5 percent in April, after decreasing 26.0 percent in March. 
The April decline was the largest 1-month drop since the index was first published monthly in September 
1992. The decline in fuel prices was led by a 33.0-percent drop in the price index for import petroleum; 
natural gas prices also fell in April, decreasing 3.3 percent. Prices for import fuel declined 56.6 percent from 
April 2019 to April 2020, the largest 12-month drop since the index was first published in December 1984. 
Petroleum prices declined 58.5 percent over the past year, and more than offset a 5.9-percent advance in 
natural gas prices.  
 
All Imports Excluding Fuel: Prices for imports excluding fuel fell 0.5 percent in April following no 
change the previous month. In April, the drop was driven by lower prices for industrial supplies and 
materials; foods, feeds, and beverages; and consumer goods, which more than offset rising prices for 
automotive vehicles and capital goods. Nonfuel import prices declined 1.0 percent over the past 12 months.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices declined 3.2 
percent in April, after rising 0.2 percent in March. The April decrease was led by lower prices for unfinished 
metals, selected building materials, and chemicals. 
	
Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in April. Automotive vehicles prices rose 0.4 percent, 
driven by higher prices for passenger cars. Prices for capital goods ticked up 0.1 percent and have not 
declined since November. Despite the recent advances, prices for import capital goods fell 0.7 percent over 
the past 12 months. In contrast, the price index for consumer goods declined 0.2 percent in April. 

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages fell 1.3 percent in April, after declining 
1.0 percent the previous month. The April drop was led by lower prices for fruit, meat, and food oils.

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

2019

April

0.2 1.9 -0.1 0.1 -1.4 0.2

May

0.2 3.6 -0.3 -0.3 -1.1 -0.2

June

-1.1 -7.8 -0.3 -0.6 2.4 -0.9

July

0.0 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.2

August

-0.6 -4.2 -0.1 -0.6 -2.4 -0.3

September

0.1 1.0 -0.1 -0.3 -1.6 -0.2

October

-0.4 -1.6 -0.3 0.0 1.7 -0.2

November

0.2 2.2 -0.1 0.1 2.4 -0.1

December

0.2 1.3 0.1 -0.2 -0.1 -0.2

2020

January

0.2 -0.1 0.3 0.6 (r)2.0 0.6

February

-0.7 (r)-9.1 (r)0.2 (r)-1.2 (r)-2.8 -1.1

March

(r)-2.4 (r)-26.0 0.0 (r)-1.7 (r)-1.5 (r)-1.7

April

-2.6 -31.5 -0.5 -3.3 -3.1 -3.3

Apr. 2018 to 2019

-0.2 6.5 -0.9 0.2 -2.7 0.5

Apr. 2019 to 2020

-6.8 -56.6 -1.0 -7.0 -4.1 -7.3

Footnotes
(r) Revised

Exports 

The price index for U.S. exports decreased 3.3 percent in April following declines of 1.7 percent in March 
and 1.2 percent in February. The April drop was the largest 1-month decrease in export prices since the 
index was first published on a monthly basis in December 1988. Declining prices for both nonagricultural 
exports and agricultural exports contributed to the April decrease. Prices for U.S. exports fell 7.0 percent 
from April 2019 to April 2020, the largest over-the-year decline since a 7.3-percent drop for the year ended 
September 2015. (See table 2.)

Agricultural Exports: Prices for agricultural exports fell 3.1 percent in April, after decreasing 1.5 percent 
in March and 2.8 percent in February. The April drop was the largest decline since the index fell 5.2 percent 
in July 2018. Lower prices for corn, meat, cotton, fruit, soybeans, and nuts all contributed to the overall 
decline in April. The price index for agricultural exports decreased 4.1 percent over the past year, driven by 
falling prices for cotton, vegetables, corn, and meat.  

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural export prices decreased 3.3 percent in April 
following a 1.7-percent decline in March and a 1.1-percent drop in February. The April decrease was the 
largest decline since the index was first published on a monthly basis in December 1988. In April, the drop 
was driven by lower nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices; lower consumer goods prices 
also contributed to the decline. The price index for nonagricultural exports decreased 7.3 percent over the 
past 12 months, the largest over-the-year drop since the index was first published in March 1985.     

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and 
materials declined 10.0 percent in April, after a 4.8-percent drop in March. The April decrease was led by a 
28.2-percent drop in fuel prices and was the largest decline in nonagricultural industrial supplies and 
materials prices since the index was first published monthly in September 1992.   

Finished Goods: Prices for finished goods were down overall in April. Consumer goods prices declined 0.3 
percent following a 0.6-percent drop in March. The April decline was driven by lower prices for medicinal, 
dental, and pharmaceutical materials. The price indexes for capital goods and automotive vehicles were 
unchanged in April.

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality

Imports by Locality of Origin: Prices for imports from China ticked up 0.1 percent in April, the first 
monthly advance since the index rose 0.2 percent in December 2019. The price index for imports from 
China declined 1.1 percent for the year ended in April, the smallest over-the-year decrease since the index 
declined 1.0 percent from March 2018 to March 2019. In contrast, import prices from Japan decreased 0.2 
percent in April, the largest drop since the index fell 0.3 percent in October 2017. Prices for imports from 
Japan edged down 0.1 percent over the past year. Driven by lower petroleum prices, the price index for 
imports from Canada decreased 10.2 percent, the largest decline since the index was first published on a 
monthly basis in September 1992. Import prices from Canada fell 23.5 percent for the year ended in April. 
Prices for imports from the European Union decreased 0.7 percent in April and prices for imports from 
Mexico declined 0.4 percent. (See table 7.)

Exports by Locality of Destination: Export prices to China fell 2.1 percent in April, after decreasing 2.7 
percent in March and 1.0 percent in February. Prices for exports to China declined 8.2 percent over the past 
12 months, the largest over-the-year drop since the index was first published in December 2017. The price 
index for exports to Japan declined 3.9 percent in April following a 3.4-percent drop in March. Those were 
the 2 largest monthly decreases since the index was first published in December 2017. Export prices to 
Canada fell 2.6 percent in April, after a 2.5-percent drop the previous month. Those were the largest 
decreases since the index declined 2.9 percent in January 2019. Prices for exports to the European Union 
fell 2.4 percent in April and the price index for exports to Mexico decreased 5.2 percent. (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 index for U.S. terms of trade with 
China fell 2.2 percent in April following a 2.7-percent drop the previous month. The drop in April resulted 
from both a decrease in export prices to China and an increase in import prices from China. The U.S. terms 
of trade with Japan declined 3.6 percent in April, after a 3.4-percent drop in March. The indexes for U.S. 
terms of trade with the European Union and Mexico also fell in April, decreasing 1.7 percent and 4.8 
percent, respectively. In contrast, the U.S. terms of trade with Canada increased 8.5 percent in April, and 
advanced 22.0 percent over the past year. (See table 9.)

Import and Export Services

Imports: Import air passenger fares fell 12.3 percent in April, after declining 9.8 percent the previous 
month. The April decrease was the largest drop since the index was first published monthly in December 
2000. The decline in April was driven by a 26.0-percent decrease in European fares. Import air passenger 
fares fell 16.2 percent for the year ended in April, the largest over-the-year drop since the index decreased 
19.5 percent from August 2008 to August 2009. Import air freight prices rose 38.5 percent in April, the 
largest advance since the index was first published monthly in December 2005. The price index for import 
air freight increased 40.4 percent over the past 12 months. (See table 10.)

Exports: Export air passenger fares fell 7.9 percent in April following decreases of 4.2 percent in March 
and 9.3 percent in February. The index for export air passenger fares declined 14.1 percent over the past 
year, the largest 12-month drop since the index fell 14.6 percent for the year ended December 2015. The 
price index for export air freight declined 2.6 percent in April and 3.3 percent over the past 12 months, the 
largest over-the-year decrease since the index fell 6.0 percent for the year ended January 2010.  

Import and Export Price Index data for May are scheduled for release on Friday, June 12, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. 
(EDT).

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Last Modified Date: May 14, 2020