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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-20-1928
8:30 a.m. (ET) Thursday, October 15, 2020

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 - SEPTEMBER 2020

Prices for U.S. imports increased 0.3 percent in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 
today, following advances of 1.0 percent in August, 1.2 percent in July, and 1.3 percent in June. In 
September, rising prices for nonfuel imports more than offset lower fuel prices. U.S. export prices increased 
0.6 percent in September, after advancing 0.5 percent the previous month. 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on September 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 September release of U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes. Survey response rates for 
September were 5.6-percentage points lower than those in September 2019. A small number of indexes that 
are normally published were not published in September. Additional information is available at 
www.bls.gov/covid19/import-export-price-indexes-covid19-impacts-september-2020.htm.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Imports 

U.S. import prices rose 0.3 percent in September, after increasing 4.2 percent from April to August. Despite 
the recent increases, overall import prices declined 1.1 percent for the year ended in September. The price 
index for U.S. imports has not increased on a 12-month basis since January 2020. (See table 1.) 

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices fell 2.9 percent in September following a 3.9-percent increase in August. 
The September decline was the first 1-month drop since April and was led by lower petroleum prices, which 
more than offset rising natural gas prices. In September, import petroleum prices also decreased for the first 
time since April, falling 4.2 percent. In contrast, natural gas prices advanced 26.2 percent in September, 
after increasing 12.9 percent the previous month. The September rise was the largest increase since the 
index advanced 44.3 percent in November 2019. Prices for import fuel decreased 25.2 percent from 
September 2019 to September 2020, as a 28.1-percent drop in petroleum prices more than offset a 94.8- 
percent rise in natural gas prices.     

All Imports Excluding Fuel: The price index for nonfuel imports advanced 0.6 percent in September 
following a 0.7-percent rise in August. The September increase was primarily driven by higher prices for 
nonfuel industrial supplies and materials. Rising prices for foods, feeds, and beverages; automotive vehicles; 
consumer goods; and capital goods also contributed to the September advance in nonfuel import prices. 
Prices for nonfuel imports increased 1.5 percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year rise since 
a 1.5-percent advance in June 2018.  

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials advanced 2.9 
percent in September, led by higher prices for selected building materials and unfinished metals. 

Finished Goods: Prices for each of the major finished goods categories increased in September. Automotive 
vehicles prices advanced 0.2 percent, driven by a 0.3-percent rise in parts, engines, bodies, and chassis 
prices. Prices for consumer goods and capital goods each ticked up 0.1 percent in September. 

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Foods, feeds, and beverages prices rose 0.8 percent in September, after 
increasing 0.5 percent the previous month. In September, rising prices for fruit, vegetables, and food oils 
more than offset lower meat 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

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 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

(r)1.3 (r)20.6 0.3 1.8 1.6 1.7

July

1.2 (r)15.0 0.2 (r)1.0 1.6 0.9

August

(r)1.0 (r)3.9 0.7 0.5 (r)-2.3 0.8

September

0.3 -2.9 0.6 0.6 2.7 0.3

Sep. 2018 to 2019

-2.1 -8.3 -1.2 -1.7 0.2 -1.9

Sep. 2019 to 2020

-1.1 -25.2 1.5 -1.8 1.3 -2.2

Footnotes
(r) Revised


Exports 

Prices for U.S. exports rose 0.6 percent in September, after advancing 3.3 percent from April to August. In 
September, higher prices for both agricultural and nonagricultural exports contributed to the overall rise. 
Despite the recent upward trend, prices for U.S. exports fell 1.8 percent over the past year. (See table 2.)

Agricultural Exports: Agricultural export prices rose 2.7 percent in September following a 2.3-percent 
decrease the previous month. The September increase was the largest 1-month advance since the index rose 
3.8 percent in December 2018. Higher prices for soybeans, corn, fruit, cotton, wheat, nuts, and meat more 
than offset lower prices for dairy products and eggs. Prices for agricultural exports increased 1.3 percent for 
the year ended in September, the first 12-month advance for the index since a 3.1-percent rise from January 
2019 to January 2020.     

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: The price index for nonagricultural exports advanced 0.3 percent in 
September, after rising 0.8 percent in August, 0.9 percent in July, and 1.7 percent in June. The September 
increase was led by higher prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials; consumer goods; 
capital goods; and nonagricultural foods. Even with the recent increases, nonagricultural export prices 
decreased 2.2 percent for the year ended in September. The 12-month decline in prices for nonagricultural 
exports was driven by a 7.1-percent drop in nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices. 

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices 
advanced 0.6 percent in September and have not declined on a monthly basis since April. In September, 
higher prices for chemicals, nonferrous metals, and steelmaking materials more than offset falling fuel 
prices.     

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mostly up in September. Consumer goods prices rose 0.6 
percent following increases of 0.4 percent in August and 0.3 percent in July. The September advance was 
the largest monthly rise since the index increased 1.2 percent in June 2011. Prices for capital goods ticked 
up 0.1 percent in September and the price index for automotive vehicles was unchanged.  

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality

Imports by Locality of Origin: Prices for imports from China were unchanged in September following a 
0.1-percent increase in August and a 0.2-percent advance in July. Import prices from China last declined on 
a monthly basis in May and were unchanged over the past 12 months. The price index for imports from 
Japan rose 0.2 percent in September, after ticking up 0.1 percent the previous month. Prices for imports 
from Japan also increased 0.2 percent for the year ended in September. Import prices from the European 
Union advanced 0.9 percent in September following rises of 0.4 percent in August, 0.7 percent in July, and 
0.4 percent in June. The September increase was the largest 1-month advance since the index rose 1.6 
percent in January 2013. The price index for imports from Canada increased 1.2 percent in September, after 
advancing 26.1 percent from April to August. Prices for imports from Mexico ticked up 0.1 percent in 
September following a 1.0-percent rise in August. (See table 7.)

Exports by Locality of Destination: Prices for exports to China edged down 0.1 percent in September, 
after advancing 6.4 percent from April to August. The price index for exports to China increased 0.4 percent 
for the year ended in September. Export prices to Japan advanced 0.9 percent in September following 
increases of 0.5 percent in August, 0.9 percent in July, and 4.4 percent in June. Prices for exports to Japan 
fell 1.0 percent from September 2019 to September 2020. The price index for exports to the European 
Union rose 0.5 percent for the second consecutive month in September, and has not recorded a 1-month 
decrease since May. Export prices to Canada and Mexico also increased in September, rising 0.6 percent 
and 0.4 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 edged 
down 0.1 percent in September, the first monthly decline since the index fell 2.6 percent in April. In 
contrast, the index for U.S. terms of trade with China rose 0.4 percent over the past year. The U.S. terms of 
trade with Japan increased 0.7 percent in September following a 0.4-percent advance the previous month. In 
September, higher export prices to Japan more than offset rising import prices from Japan. The index for 
U.S. terms of trade with the European Union decreased 0.4 percent in September, after ticking up 0.1 
percent in August. The U.S. terms of trade with Canada declined 0.6 percent in September, and the U.S. 
terms of trade with Mexico advanced 0.3 percent. (See table 9.)

Import and Export Services

Imports: Import air passenger fares advanced 4.4 percent in September following a 0.1-percent rise in 
August and a 4.0-percent decline in July. Higher European and Asian fares led the September increase in 
overall import air passenger fares. Despite the recent advances, the index for import air passenger fares 
decreased 12.8 percent for the year ended in September. Import air freight prices fell 0.9 percent in 
September, after rising 2.2 percent the previous month. Large increases in May and April drove import air 
freight prices up 55.6 percent over the past 12 months. (See table 10.)

Exports: Export air passenger fares advanced 5.9 percent in September, after rising 3.1 percent in August. 
In September, the increase was led by a 16.9-percent advance in Asian fares. Export air passenger fares rose 
5.3 percent from September 2019 to September 2020, the largest 12-month advance since increasing 8.7 
percent in June 2012. Prices for export air freight rose 0.8 percent in September following a 1.1-percent 
increase the previous month. Export air freight prices also advanced over the past year, rising 5.6 percent, 
the largest over-the-year increase since the index advanced 9.9 percent in November 2017.  

U.S. Import and Export Price Index data for October are scheduled for release on Tuesday, November 17, 
2020 at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

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Last Modified Date: October 15, 2020