U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes summary

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

Prices for U.S. imports decreased 1.0 percent in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 
today, after a 1.9-percent fall the previous month. Lower fuel prices drove the decline in December, and 
nonfuel prices recorded no change. U.S. export prices fell 0.6 percent in December following a 0.8-percent 
drop in November.

Imports

U.S. import prices declined 1.0 percent in December, after decreasing 1.9 percent in November and rising 
0.5 percent in October. The November drop was the largest monthly decline since the index fell 3.2 percent 
in January 2015. Prices for imports decreased 0.6 percent in 2018 following a 3.2-percent increase the 
previous year. The decline in 2018 was the first calendar-year drop since import prices fell 8.3 percent in 
2015. (See table 1.)

Fuel Imports: Prices for import fuel declined 9.2 percent in December, after a 13.3-percent drop the 
previous month. The December decrease was driven by an 11.6-percent decline in petroleum prices which 
more than offset a 30.3-percent advance in natural gas prices. Import fuel prices fell 10.4 percent in 2018 
following a 21.8-percent increase the previous year. The 2018 decline is the first calendar-year decrease 
since 2015, when import fuel prices fell 41.0 percent. In 2018, a 14.0-percent drop in petroleum prices more 
than offset a 67.6-percent increase in prices for natural gas.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Prices for nonfuel imports recorded no change in December, after declining 
0.3 percent in November. Higher prices for consumer goods; automotive vehicles; and foods, feeds, and 
beverages offset price declines for capital goods and nonfuel industrial supplies and materials. Nonfuel 
import prices advanced 0.5 percent in 2018 following a 1.3-percent rise in 2017. The price index for nonfuel 
imports has not recorded a calendar-year decline since a 3.4-percent drop in 2015. In 2018, higher prices for 
nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; consumer goods; and automotive vehicles drove the increase in 
nonfuel import prices.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials edged down 
0.1 percent in December, after falling 0.2 percent the previous month. A 0.9-percent decline in prices for 
chemicals drove the December decrease.
	
Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mostly up in December. Prices for consumer goods and 
automotive vehicles each ticked up 0.1 percent. In contrast, capital goods prices edged down 0.1 percent.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Foods, feeds, and beverages prices rose 0.1 percent in December, after 
declining 2.2 percent the previous month. The December increase was led by a 10.9-percent advance in 
vegetable 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

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 0.4 -0.2

September

(r)0.1 (r)0.0 0.0 0.0 (r)-1.3 0.2

October

0.5 3.2 0.1 0.5 (r)-0.1 0.5

November

(r)-1.9 (r)-13.3 -0.3 (r)-0.8 (r)1.7 -1.0

December

-1.0 -9.2 0.0 -0.6 3.9 -1.1

Dec. 2016 to 2017

3.2 21.8 1.3 2.8 1.9 2.8

Dec. 2017 to 2018

-0.6 -10.4 0.5 1.1 2.5 1.0

Footnotes
(r) Revised

Exports 

U.S. export prices fell 0.6 percent in December following a 0.8-percent decrease in November. 
Nonagricultural prices declined in December, more than offsetting higher prices for agricultural goods. 
Despite the December downturn, U.S. export prices increased 1.1 percent in 2018. The price index for U.S. 
exports has not recorded a calendar-year decrease since falling 6.6 percent in 2015. (See table 2.)

Agricultural Exports: Prices for agricultural exports advanced 3.9 percent in December, the largest 
increase for the index since a 4.8-percent rise in August 2012. The December advance follows a 1.7-percent 
rise in November and a 0.1-percent drop in October. Price increases for soybeans and nuts contributed to the 
December advance, more than offsetting lower fruit prices. Agricultural export prices rose 2.5 percent in 
2018, after increasing 1.9 percent in 2017. The 2018 increase was the largest calendar-year advance since 
the price index for agricultural exports rose 13.4 percent in 2012.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Prices for nonagricultural exports decreased 1.1 percent in December, 
after declining 1.0 percent in November and rising 0.5 percent in October. The December drop matched the 
decrease in December 2015; those were the largest monthly declines since the index fell 1.3 percent in 
August 2015. Lower prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials led the December decrease, 
more than offsetting rising consumer goods and automotive vehicles prices. Despite the December decline, 
nonagricultural export prices advanced 1.0 percent in 2018. 

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: The price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies 
and materials decreased 3.4 percent in December, the largest monthly decline since falling 3.7-percent in 
August 2015. An 8.4-percent drop in prices for export fuel drove the December decline.

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices mostly rose in December. The price indexes for consumer goods and 
automotive vehicles each ticked up 0.1 percent. Export capital goods prices recorded no change in 
December following a 0.1-percent drop in November. In 2018, automotive vehicles export prices rose 0.9 
percent, the largest calendar-year increase since advancing 2.6 percent in 2011.

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality

Imports by Locality of Origin: The price index for imports from China recorded no change in December. 
Prices for imports from China decreased 0.2 percent in 2018 and have not risen on a calendar-year basis 
since advancing 3.6 percent in 2011. Import prices from Japan edged down 0.1 percent for the second 
consecutive month in December. Despite the monthly decreases, prices for imports from Japan rose 1.0 
percent in 2018. Prices for imports from Canada declined 1.5 percent in December and fell 6.1 percent in 
2018, the largest calendar-year drop since a 15.1-percent decrease in 2015. The price index for imports from 
Mexico declined 0.5 percent in December and prices for imports from the European Union fell 0.1 percent 
over the same period. (See table 7.)

Exports by Locality of Destination: Export prices to China decreased 0.3 percent in December following a 
0.1-percent drop the previous month. The price index for exports to China declined 1.5 percent in 2018. 
Prices for exports to Japan fell 0.2 percent in December, after recording no change in November and rising 
0.2 percent in October. In 2018, export prices to Japan rose 0.5 percent. Prices for exports to Canada 
increased 2.2 percent in December, and advanced 7.3 percent in 2018. The price index for exports to 
Mexico fell 0.9 percent in December. Despite the monthly decrease, export prices to Mexico increased 1.6 
percent in 2018. Prices for exports to the European Union declined 0.7 percent in December, after rising in 
each of the previous 3 months. The December drop was the largest 1-month decrease for export prices to the 
European Union since the index was first published in December 2017. In 2018, export prices to the 
European Union advanced 3.2 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 decreased 0.3 percent in December, driven by decreasing export prices to China. Overall, the U.S. 
terms of trade with China declined 1.3 percent in 2018. The U.S. terms of trade with Japan edged down 0.1 
percent in December following 0.1-percent increases the previous 2 months. In 2018, the index for U.S. 
terms of trade with Japan fell 0.5 percent. The U.S. terms of trade with Canada rose 3.8 percent in 
December, and increased 14.3 percent in 2018. The index for U.S. terms of trade with the European Union 
declined 0.6 percent in December and the U.S. terms of trade with Mexico fell 0.4 percent. Despite the 
monthly decreases, the U.S. terms of trade with the European Union and Mexico each advanced 1.8 percent 
in 2018. (See table 9.)

Import and Export Services

Imports: The index for import air passenger fares rose 7.6 percent in December following increases of 0.7 
percent in November and October. Higher Asian and Latin American/Caribbean fares drove the rise in 
December. Import air passenger fares advanced 1.8 percent in 2018, after increasing 4.2 percent in 2017. 
Prices for import air freight decreased 2.7 percent in December following a 0.7-percent advance the 
previous month. The index for import air freight prices rose 4.1 percent in 2018 and has not recorded a 
calendar-year decrease since falling 3.1 percent in 2015. (See table 10.)

Exports: Export air passenger fares advanced 1.4 percent in December, after edging up 0.1 percent the 
previous month. Higher Asian and European fares contributed to the monthly increase. The index for export 
air passenger fares fell 5.0 percent in 2018 following a 5.8-percent drop in 2017. Prices for export air freight 
declined for the second consecutive month in December, edging down 0.1 percent. Despite the monthly 
decrease, export air freight prices rose 3.4 percent in 2018, the largest calendar-year increase since a 5.8-
percent advance in 2014.
		
Import and Export Price Index data for January are scheduled for release on Friday, February 15, 2019 at 
8:30 a.m. (EST).

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Last Modified Date: January 16, 2019