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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-21-0026
8:30 a.m. (ET) Thursday, January 14, 2021

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Media contact:	       (202) 691-5902 * PressOffice@bls.gov


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

U.S. import prices advanced 0.9 percent in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, 
following a 0.2-percent increase the previous month. Higher fuel and nonfuel prices both contributed to the 
December rise in import prices. Prices for U.S. exports also rose in December, advancing 1.1 percent, after 
increasing 0.7 percent in November.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
         Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on December 2020 Import and Export Price Index Data

The Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make changes to either the collection method or estimation 
methodology for the December release of U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes. Survey response rates for 
December were 5.3-percentage points lower than those in December 2019. A small number of indexes that 
are normally published were not published in December. Additional information is available at 
www.bls.gov/covid19/import-export-price-indexes-covid19-impacts-december-2020.htm.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Imports 

The price index for U.S. imports rose 0.9 percent in December, after advancing 0.2 percent from August to 
November. The December increase was the largest monthly advance since August. Import prices declined 
0.3 percent for the year ended in December. The last time the index rose on a 12-month basis was a 0.5-
percent increase in January 2020. (See table 1.) 

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices rose 7.8 percent in December following a 4.8-percent increase in 
November. The December advance was the largest rise since a 15.2-percent increase in July 2020. In 
December, the advance was led by rising petroleum prices which more than offset lower natural gas prices. 
The price index for import petroleum rose 9.1 percent in December, after increasing 2.9 percent the previous 
month. In contrast, prices for natural gas fell 7.5 percent in December, after advancing 44.2 percent in 
November. Despite the recent increases, import fuel prices declined 19.5 percent in 2020, the largest 
calendar-year drop since the index fell 41.0 percent in 2015. In December, prices for petroleum decreased 
20.4 percent on a 12-month basis and natural gas prices decreased 0.2 percent.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Prices for nonfuel imports rose 0.4 percent in December following a 0.2-
percent decrease the previous month. The December advance was driven by higher prices for nonfuel 
industrial supplies and materials and for consumer goods which more than offset declining foods, feeds, and 
beverages prices. Nonfuel import prices increased 1.9 percent in 2020, the largest calendar-year advance 
since the index rose 3.4 percent in 2011.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices advanced 2.3 
percent, after declining 0.3 percent in November. The December increase was led by higher prices for 
unfinished metals, chemicals, and lumber.

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mostly unchanged in December. Consumer goods prices ticked 
up 0.1 percent following no change the previous month. Prices for capital goods and automotive vehicles 
were unchanged.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages decreased 0.2 percent in December 
following a 2.2-percent drop the previous month. The December decline was driven by a 7.6-percent 
decrease 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

2019

December

0.2 1.3 0.1 -0.2 -0.1 -0.2

2020

January

0.2 -0.1 0.3 0.6 2.0 0.6

February

-0.7 -9.1 0.2 -1.2 -2.9 -1.1

March

-2.4 -26.5 0.0 -1.4 -1.4 -1.4

April

-2.6 -30.9 -0.5 -3.5 -3.3 -3.5

May

0.7 13.9 0.1 0.0 -0.4 0.0

June

1.3 20.6 0.3 1.8 1.6 1.7

July

1.2 15.2 0.2 1.0 1.6 0.9

August

0.9 3.7 0.7 0.5 -2.2 0.9

September

0.2 -4.7 0.5 0.6 (r)2.8 0.3

October

-0.1 (r)-1.0 (r)0.0 0.2 (r)3.5 (r)-0.2

November

(r)0.2 (r)4.8 (r)-0.2 (r)0.7 (r)3.5 0.3

December

0.9 7.8 0.4 1.1 0.6 1.3

Dec. 2018 to 2019

0.5 18.6 -1.4 -0.9 -1.2 -0.8

Dec. 2019 to 2020

-0.3 -19.5 1.9 0.2 5.1 -0.2

Footnotes
(r) Revised

Exports 

U.S. export prices increased 1.1 percent in December, the largest 1-month advance since a 1.8-percent rise 
in June 2020. In December, higher agricultural and nonagricultural prices contributed to the increase in 
export prices. Prices for U.S. exports rose 0.2 percent from December 2019 to December 2020, the first 12-
month advance since January 2020. (See table 2.)

Agricultural Exports: The price index for agricultural exports rose 0.6 percent in December following 3.5-
percent increases in November and October. In December, higher prices for soybeans more than offset 
declining prices for vegetables and dairy products. Prices for agricultural exports advanced 5.1 percent over 
the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year advance since the index rose 5.3 percent from June 2017 to 
June 2018. Higher soybean prices drove the increase in agricultural prices over the past year.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Prices for nonagricultural exports advanced 1.3 percent in December, 
after increasing 0.3 percent in November. The December rise was the largest 1-month advance since the 
index increased 1.7 percent in June 2020. In December, the advance in export prices was led by higher 
prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials. Increasing prices for consumer goods, capital 
goods, automotive vehicles, and nonagricultural foods, feeds, and beverages also contributed to the overall 
advance. Despite the December increase, the price index for nonagricultural exports declined 0.2 percent 
over the past 12 months.

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices 
rose 3.4 percent in December following a 1.5-percent advance the previous month. The December advance 
was driven by an 8.9-percent increase in export fuel prices. 

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were up in December. Consumer goods prices advanced 0.4 percent, 
after decreasing 0.8 percent in November. The December rise was led by a 0.7-percent increase in 
medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical preparatory materials. The price indexes for capital goods and 
automotive vehicles both ticked up 0.1 percent in December. 

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality

Imports by Locality of Origin: The price index for imports from China rose 0.3 percent in December, after 
advancing 0.2 percent the previous month. The December increase was the largest monthly advance since 
the index rose 0.3 percent in November 2017. Import prices from China increased 0.5 percent in 2020, the 
first calendar-year increase since the index advanced 3.6 percent in 2011. Prices for imports from Japan rose 
0.2 percent in December and have not recorded a monthly drop since July 2020. The price index for imports 
from Japan increased 0.4 percent for the year ended in December, the largest over-the-year advance since 
the index rose 0.4 percent in January 2020. Import prices from Canada also increased in December, 
advancing 3.7 percent, after edging down 0.1 percent in each of the previous 3 months. Prices for imports 
from the European Union rose 0.6 percent in December and import prices from Mexico ticked up 0.1 
percent for the same period. (See table 7.)

Exports by Locality of Destination: Export prices to China increased 1.8 percent in December following a 
1.7-percent advance in November. The December rise was the largest monthly increase since the index 
advanced 3.0 percent in June 2020. Prices for exports to China rose 3.6 percent from December 2019 to 
December 2020. The price index for exports to Japan increased 1.3 percent in December, the largest 1-
month advance since the index rose 4.4 percent in June 2020. Export prices to Japan increased 1.4 percent in 
2020. Prices for exports to Canada advanced 0.4 percent in December, after rising 1.1 percent the previous 
month. The price indexes for exports to the European Union and Mexico also increased in December, 
advancing 1.6 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. (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 rose 
1.5 percent for the second consecutive month in December. The increases were the largest monthly 
advances since the index rose 3.0 percent in June 2020. The index for U.S. terms of trade with Japan 
increased 1.1 percent in December, after advancing 0.4 percent the previous month. The December increase 
was the largest 1-month advance since the index rose 4.1 percent in June 2020. In contrast, the U.S. terms of 
trade with Canada declined 3.2 percent in December. Higher import prices from Canada more than offset 
rising export prices to Canada. The index for U.S. terms of trade with the European Union increased 0.9 
percent in December following a 0.2-percent advance in November. The U.S. terms of trade with Mexico 
also rose in December, advancing 1.0 percent, after a 1.8-percent increase the previous month. (See table 9.)

Import and Export Services

Imports: Import air passenger fares advanced 3.9 percent in December following an 8.1-percent increase 
from August to November. In December, the increase was driven by higher Asian fares which more than 
offset lower European fares. Despite the recent advances, import air passenger fares fell 16.4 percent for the 
year ended in December. The price index for import air freight increased 6.2 percent in December and rose 
21.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. Import air freight prices advanced 75.8 percent, the largest 
calendar-year increase since the index was first published in December 1990. (See table 10.)

Exports: Export air passenger fares declined 9.5 percent in December, after increasing 14.5 percent in 
November. The December decline was the largest monthly drop since the index fell 11.6 percent in 
February 2017, and was led by a 24.5-percent decrease in Asian fares. Despite the December decline, export 
air passenger fares advanced 4.4 percent over the past 12 months. Export air freight prices rose 5.8 percent 
in December and 2.7 percent over the past year. The December increase was the largest monthly advance 
since the index rose 5.8 percent in May 2014.

U.S. Import and Export Price Index data for January 2021 are scheduled for release on Thursday, February 
18, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

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Last Modified Date: January 14, 2021