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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					USDL-21-1646
8:30 a.m. (ET) Wednesday, September 15, 2021

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


                            U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES - AUGUST 2021

U.S. import prices declined 0.3 percent in August following increases of 0.4 percent in July and 1.1 percent 
in June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The August downturn was led by lower fuel and 
nonfuel prices. In contrast, prices for U.S. exports advanced 0.4 percent in August, after increasing 1.1 
percent in July. 
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
                               Error in the Export Air Freight Price Indexes
                               
BLS discovered an error affecting the export price indexes for air freight, air freight-Europe, and air 
freight-Asia for January to June 2021. The items for foreign-to-foreign destinations were mistakenly excluded 
from the calculation of the indexes. Corrected values appear in this release. More information is available at 
www.bls.gov/errata/home.htm?errataID=87723.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Imports 

The price index for U.S. imports decreased 0.3 percent in August, the first monthly decline for the index 
since a 0.1-percent drop in October 2020. Import prices advanced 9.0 percent over the past year, the 
smallest 12-month increase since March 2021. Higher fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the overall 
advance in import prices from August 2020 to August 2021. (See table 1.) 

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices declined 2.3 percent in August following a 3.0-percent increase in July. 
The August drop was the first monthly decrease since the index fell 1.0 percent in October 2020. The 
August downturn was mostly driven by lower petroleum prices. Prices for import petroleum declined 2.4 
percent in August, after advancing 2.3 percent the previous month. The price index for natural gas also fell 
in August, decreasing 0.8 percent following a 16.6-percent increase in July. Despite the declines in August, 
prices for import fuel rose 56.5 percent over the past year. Petroleum prices increased 55.9 percent and 
prices for natural gas advanced 93.2 percent from August 2020 to August 2021.   

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Prices for nonfuel imports fell 0.1 percent in August, after ticking up 0.1 
percent the previous month. The August drop was the first monthly decline since the index fell 0.2 percent 
in November 2020. In August, a drop in the price index for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials more 
than offset higher prices for automotive vehicles; foods, feeds, and beverages; capital goods; and consumer 
goods. Nonfuel import prices increased 5.6 percent for the year ended in August.      

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages advanced 0.6 percent for the second 
consecutive month. In August, the rise was led by higher prices for fruit and coffee.       

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices decreased 1.3 
percent in August, after declining 1.2 percent in July. The August drop was primarily driven by lower 
selected building materials prices which more than offset higher chemicals prices.         

Finished Goods: Prices for each of the major finished goods categories advanced in August. Capital goods 
prices ticked up 0.1 percent, led by higher prices for computers, peripherals, and semiconductors, and oil 
drilling, mining, and construction machinery. Prices for automotive vehicles rose 0.3 percent in August and 
consumer goods prices advanced 0.1 percent.     

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

2020

August

0.9 3.7 0.7 0.5 -2.2 0.9

September

0.2 -4.7 0.5 0.6 2.8 0.3

October

-0.1 -1.0 0.0 0.2 3.5 -0.2

November

0.1 4.4 -0.2 0.8 3.5 0.5

December

1.0 7.3 0.4 1.2 1.0 1.3

2021

January

1.5 9.0 0.9 2.7 6.0 2.3

February

1.2 10.9 0.4 1.6 2.7 1.5

March

1.5 8.0 0.9 2.5 2.4 2.5

April

0.9 1.9 0.8 1.2 0.7 1.2

May

1.3 5.2 0.9 2.3 6.1 1.8

June

1.1 (r)5.1 0.7 1.2 (r)1.4 1.1

July

(r)0.4 (r)3.0 (r)0.1 (r)1.1 -1.7 (r)1.4

August

-0.3 -2.3 -0.1 0.4 1.1 0.2

Aug. 2019 to 2020

-1.4 -22.3 0.8 -2.7 -2.9 -2.6

Aug. 2020 to 2021

9.0 56.5 5.6 16.8 33.4 14.9

Footnotes
(r) Revised

Exports 

U.S. export prices advanced 0.4 percent in August following increases of 1.1 percent in July and 1.2 percent 
in June. The August rise was the smallest 1-month advance since October 2020. Higher prices for both 
agricultural and nonagricultural exports contributed to the August increase. Prices for U.S. exports advanced 
16.8 percent for the year ended in August. (See table 2.)

Agricultural Exports: Prices for agricultural exports rose 1.1 percent in August, after decreasing 1.7 
percent the previous month. In August, higher prices for nuts, wheat, meat, vegetables, and dairy products 
more than offset lower prices for corn, animal feeds, fruit, and soybeans. Agricultural export prices 
advanced 33.4 percent over the past year.                  

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: The price index for nonagricultural exports advanced 0.2 percent in 
August following a 1.4-percent increase the previous month. The August rise was the smallest 1-month 
advance since the index last recorded a monthly decline in October 2020. In August, higher prices for 
nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials, capital goods, automotive vehicles, and nonagricultural 
foods more than offset declining consumer goods prices. Nonagricultural export prices increased 14.9 
percent from August 2020 to August 2021.            

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices 
rose 0.6 percent in August, after a 3.0-percent increase in July. Prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies 
and materials exports have not recorded a monthly decline since October 2020.   

Finished Goods: Prices for most of the major finished goods categories increased in August. The price 
index for export capital goods ticked up 0.1 percent in August following 0.4-percent advances in July and 
June. The August rise was driven by higher prices for industrial and service machinery, and oil drilling, 
mining, and construction machinery. Automotive vehicle prices rose 0.2 percent in August, after a 0.5-
percent increase the previous month. In contrast, prices for consumer goods fell 0.3 percent in August 
following a 0.2-percent drop in July. Lower prices for medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical materials led 
the decline each month.    

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality

Imports by Locality of Origin: Import prices from China increased 0.4 percent in August following a 0.6-
percent advance in July. The index has not recorded a monthly decline since edging down 0.1 percent in 
October 2020. Higher prices for fabricated metal product manufacturing were the largest contributor to the 
August increase. Prices for imports from China rose 3.8 percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-
the-year advance since a 4.0-percent increase in November 2011. The price index for imports from Japan 
rose 0.2 percent in August, after a 0.3-percent advance the previous month. Import prices from Japan have 
not declined on a monthly basis since edging down 0.1 percent in July 2020 and increased 2.5 percent over 
the past 12 months. Prices for imports from Mexico and the European Union also rose in August, advancing 
0.3 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. In contrast, the price index for imports from Canada decreased 3.3 
percent in August, the largest 1-month drop since the index fell 11.8 percent in April 2020. Despite the 
decline, import prices from Canada increased 25.0 percent over the past year. (See table 7.)

Exports by Locality of Destination: Prices for exports to China continued to rise in August, increasing 0.2 
percent following a 0.3-percent advance in July. Export prices to China have not recorded a 1-month 
decrease since a 1.2-percent drop in September 2020. The price index for exports to China rose 12.1 percent 
for the year ended in August. Prices for exports to Japan were unchanged in August, after edging down 0.1 
percent the previous month. Export prices to Japan increased 13.7 percent over the past 12 months. The 
price index for exports to Mexico rose 0.6 percent in August and 27.8 percent over the past year. In contrast, 
prices for exports to the European Union and Canada declined in August. Export prices to the European 
Union fell 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month. Prices for exports to Canada decreased 0.3 percent, 
the first monthly drop since the index declined 3.0 percent in April 2020. (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. U.S. terms of trade with China declined 
0.2 percent in August, after decreasing 0.3 percent in July. In both months, higher import prices from China 
more than offset rising export prices to China. Despite the recent drops, the index for U.S. terms of trade 
with China rose 8.0 percent over the past year. U.S. terms of trade with Japan declined for the second 
consecutive month, falling 0.3 percent in August following a 0.4-percent drop in July. U.S. terms of trade 
with the European Union also decreased in August, falling 0.2 percent, after declining 1.1 percent in July. In 
contrast, the indexes for U.S. terms of trade with Canada and Mexico increased in August, rising 3.2 percent 
and 0.3 percent, respectively. (See table 9.)

Import and Export Services

Imports: Import air passenger fares declined 6.0 percent in August, the largest monthly drop since the index 
fell 12.3 percent in April 2020. The August decrease was driven by a 10.9-percent decline in Asian fares 
and a 7.0-percent drop in European fares. Import air passenger fares increased 14.8 percent over the past 12 
months. Import air freight prices decreased for the second consecutive month in August, falling 1.1 percent, 
after declining 5.6 percent the previous month. Despite the recent drops, import air freight prices advanced 
19.3 percent for the year ended in August. (See table 10.)

Exports: The index for export air passenger fares rose 1.6 percent in August following advances of 8.2 
percent in July and 7.8 percent in June. In August, rising prices for Asian fares more than offset lower 
European and Latin American/Caribbean fares. Export air passenger fares increased 28.3 percent over the 
past year. Prices for export air freight advanced 1.1 percent in August, after falling 0.8 percent the previous 
month. Export air freight prices rose 0.5 percent over the past 12 months.   

U.S. Import and Export Price Index data for September are scheduled for release on Friday, October 15, 2021 
at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

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Last Modified Date: September 15, 2021