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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-20-1735
8:30 a.m. (ET) Tuesday, September 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 - AUGUST 2020

U.S. import prices rose 0.9 percent in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following 
advances of 1.2 percent in July and 1.4 percent in June. Higher prices for both fuel and nonfuel imports 
contributed to the August increase. Prices for U.S. exports also advanced in August, rising 0.5 percent, after 
increasing 0.9 percent the previous month.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
          Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on August 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 August release of U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes. Survey response rates for 
August were 3.5-percentage points lower than those in August 2019. A small number of indexes that are 
normally published were not published in August. Additional information is available at 
www.bls.gov/covid19/import-export-price-indexes-covid19-impacts-august-2020.htm.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Imports 

Prices for U.S. imports advanced 0.9 percent in August, after rising 3.3 percent from April to July. Prior to 
that, import prices decreased 5.6 percent from January to April. Despite the recent increases, U.S. import 
prices declined 1.4 percent for the year ended in August. (See table 1.)

Fuel Imports: The price index for import fuel rose 3.3 percent in August following increases of 15.1 
percent in July, 21.3 percent in June, and 13.9 percent in May. In August, higher prices for both petroleum 
and natural gas contributed to the advance. Petroleum prices increased 2.9 percent in August, after rising 
63.3 percent from April to July. The price index for natural gas advanced 12.2 percent in August following a 
9.1-percent drop the previous month. Despite the increases in each of the past 4 months, import fuel prices 
fell 22.2 percent from August 2019 to August 2020. Prices for petroleum declined 24.1 percent and natural 
gas prices increased 53.0 percent over the past year.   
 
All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices rose 0.7 percent in August, after increasing 0.2 percent 
in July and 0.3 percent in June. The August advance was the largest monthly increase since a 0.8-percent 
rise in April 2011. In August, the increase was driven by a 3.6-percent advance in nonfuel industrial 
supplies and materials prices. The price index for nonfuel imports rose 0.8 percent from August 2019 to 
August 2020. 
 
Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: The price index for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials 
rose 3.6 percent in August, the largest 1-month advance since the index was first published in December 
2001. The August increase was led by higher prices for unfinished metals and selected building materials. 

Finished Goods: Prices for each of the major finished goods categories increased in August. Consumer 
goods prices rose 0.2 percent, after advancing 0.3 percent in July. The August increase was driven by higher 
prices for coins, gems, jewelry, and collectibles. Prices for capital goods and automotive vehicles each 
ticked up 0.1 percent in August.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Foods, feeds, and beverages prices advanced 0.4 percent in August following 
declines of 0.9 percent in July and 0.4 percent in June. The increase in August was led by rising prices for 
meat, food oils and oilseeds, and vegetables.

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

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 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 (r)13.9 0.1 0.0 (r)-0.4 (r)0.0

June

1.4 (r)21.3 0.3 (r)1.8 (r)1.6 (r)1.7

July

(r)1.2 (r)15.1 0.2 (r)0.9 (r)1.6 (r)0.9

August

0.9 3.3 0.7 0.5 -2.2 0.8

Aug. 2018 to 2019

-2.1 -9.2 -1.1 -1.4 0.6 -1.6

Aug. 2019 to 2020

-1.4 -22.2 0.8 -2.8 -2.9 -2.8

Footnotes
(r) Revised

Exports 

The price index for U.S. exports increased 0.5 percent in August, after advancing 0.9 percent in July and 1.8 
percent in June. In August, rising nonagricultural prices more than offset falling agricultural prices. U.S. 
export prices declined 2.8 percent over the past 12 months, the smallest over-the-year decrease since 
February 2020. (See table 2.)

Agricultural Exports: Prices for agricultural exports declined 2.2 percent in August following consecutive 
1.6-percent increases in July and June. In August, declining prices for vegetables, corn, and dairy products, 
which fell 11.8 percent, 7.1 percent, and 9.9 percent, respectively, drove the drop in agricultural prices. 
Export agricultural prices also fell over the past year, decreasing 2.9 percent led by a 16.1-percent drop in 
corn prices, a 24.4-percent fall in nut prices, and a 5.0-percent decline in meat prices.   

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural export prices advanced 0.8 percent in August, after 
increasing 0.9 percent in July and 1.7 percent in June. The August rise was primarily led by higher 
nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices; rising prices for consumer goods, capital goods, and 
nonagricultural foods also contributed to the increase. The price index for nonagricultural exports decreased 
2.8 percent for the year ended in August. Lower prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials, 
consumer goods, nonagricultural foods, and automotive vehicles more than offset higher capital goods 
prices.          

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: The price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies 
and materials increased 2.3 percent in August following advances of 2.2 percent in July and 6.1 percent in 
June. The August rise was driven by higher prices for nonferrous metals, chemicals, and fuel.     

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mostly up in August. Prices for export consumer goods rose 
0.3 percent, after increasing 0.2 percent in July. The August advance was the largest 1-month rise since a 
0.3-percent increase in July 2019 and was led by a 0.3-percent advance in medicinal, pharmaceutical, and 
dental materials prices. The price index for export capital goods rose 0.1 percent in August following a 0.3-
percent increase the previous month. Automotive vehicles prices were unchanged in August. 

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality

Imports by Locality of Origin: The price index for imports from China was unchanged in August 
following a 0.2-percent advance the previous month. Prices for imports from China declined 0.3 percent 
over the past 12 months. Import prices from Japan were unchanged for the second consecutive month in 
August. The price index for imports from Japan decreased 0.2 percent for the year ended in August. Prices 
for imports from Canada increased 3.3 percent in August, after advancing 20.1 percent from April to July. 
Despite the recent increases, import prices from Canada fell 4.6 percent for the year ended in August. The 
price indexes for imports from Mexico and the European Union also rose in August, increasing 0.9 percent 
and 0.4 percent, respectively. (See table 7.)
	
Exports by Locality of Destination: Export prices to China advanced 0.8 percent in August, after rising 
1.3 percent the previous month. Prices for exports to China were unchanged over the past year. The price 
index for exports to Japan increased 0.6 percent for the second consecutive month in August following a 
4.4-percent advance in June. Despite the recent increases, export prices to Japan decreased 2.1 percent from 
August 2019 to August 2020. Prices for exports to Canada rose 0.7 percent in August, after advances of 1.3 
percent in July and 1.6 percent in June. The price index for exports to Canada declined 1.9 percent over the 
past 12 months. Export prices to Mexico and the European Union also increased in August, rising 0.5 
percent and 0.2 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 index for U.S. terms of trade with 
China advanced 0.8 percent in August, after rising 5.2 percent from April to July, the largest 3-month 
advance since the index was first published in December 2017. The U.S. terms of trade with Japan rose 0.6 
percent for the second consecutive month in August following a 4.1-percent increase in June. In contrast, 
the index for U.S. terms of trade with Canada fell 2.5 percent in August, after declining 14.2 percent from 
April to July. In August, higher import prices from Canada more than offset increasing export prices to 
Canada. The U.S. terms of trade with Mexico and the European Union also decreased in August, declining 
0.4 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. (See table 9.)

Import and Export Services

Imports: Import air passenger fares ticked up 0.1 percent in August, after falling 4.0 percent in July and 
rising 7.0 percent in June. In August, rising prices for Asian fares more than offset lower European and 
Latin American/Caribbean fares. Import air passenger fares declined 8.9 percent over the past 12 months. 
The price index for import air freight advanced 1.8 percent in August following a 14.0-percent drop in July 
and a 3.1-percent decrease in June. Import air freight prices rose 55.8 percent from August 2019 to August 
2020. (See table 10.)

Exports: Export air passenger fares increased 3.1 percent in August, after advancing 5.5 percent in July and 
6.4 percent in June. The August rise was led by a 17.5-percent increase in Asian fares, which rose 43.0 
percent from April to August. Despite the recent advances, overall export air passenger fares declined 5.8 
percent for the year ended in August. Prices for export air freight increased 1.1 percent in August following 
a 0.1-percent decrease the previous month and a 2.2-percent advance in June. The index for export air 
freight prices rose 3.3 percent over the past year, the largest 12-month advance since the index increased 3.8 
percent for the year ended February 2019.  
		
U.S. Import and Export Price Index data for September are scheduled for release on Thursday, October 15, 
2020 at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

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Last Modified Date: September 15, 2020