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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-21-0279
8:30 a.m. (ET) Thursday, February 18, 2021

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


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

Prices for U.S. imports increased 1.4 percent in January, after rising 1.0 percent in December, the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The January advance was the largest 1-month rise since the index 
increased 1.4 percent in March 2012. U.S. export prices increased 2.5 percent in January following advances 
of 1.3 percent and 0.7 percent the 2 previous months. The January increase was the largest advance since the 
index was first published on a monthly basis in December 1988. 
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
        Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on January 2021 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 January 2021 release of U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes. Survey response rates 
for January were 5.9-percentage points lower than those in January 2020. Additional information is 
available at www.bls.gov/covid19/import-export-price-indexes-covid19-impacts-january-2021.htm.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Imports 

The price index for U.S. imports rose 1.4 percent in January following a 1.0-percent increase the previous 
month. Higher fuel and nonfuel prices both contributed to the advances in January and December. U.S. 
import prices rose 0.9 percent for the year ended in January, the first over-the-year increase since January 
2020 and the largest 12-month advance since the index increased 3.4 percent from October 2017 to October 
2018. (See table 1.) 

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices increased 7.4 percent in January following advances of 8.1 percent in 
December and 4.4 percent in November. In January, higher petroleum prices more than offset lower natural 
gas prices. Prices for import petroleum advanced 8.3 percent in January, after rising 9.3 percent in 
December and 2.5 percent in November. Despite the recent increases, import fuel prices decreased 13.4 
percent for the year ended in January. A 14.3-percent decline in petroleum prices more than offset an 11.3-
percent advance in natural gas prices. The 12-month decrease in fuel prices was the smallest over-the-year 
drop for the index since February 2020.   

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices rose 0.8 percent in January following a 0.4-percent 
advance the previous month. The January increase was the largest monthly rise since April 2011. In 
January, higher prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; foods, feeds, and beverages; capital 
goods; and automotive vehicles more than offset lower prices for import consumer goods. Prices for nonfuel 
imports increased 2.5 percent over the past 12 months, primarily driven by rising nonfuel industrial supplies 
and materials prices.    

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials advanced 4.2 
percent in January, the largest monthly increase since the index was first published in December 2001. The 
January rise was mainly led by higher prices for unfinished metals and lumber.   

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in January. Prices for capital goods and automotive 
vehicles each advanced 0.2 percent. The price index for import consumer goods edged down 0.1 percent.    

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: The price index for foods, feeds, and beverages increased 2.1 percent in 
January, after ticking up 0.1 percent the previous month. The January advance was driven by increasing 
prices for fruits 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

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 2.8 0.3

October

-0.1 -1.0 0.0 0.2 3.5 -0.2

November

(r)0.1 (r)4.4 -0.2 0.7 3.5 (r)0.5

December

(r)1.0 (r)8.1 0.4 (r)1.3 (r)0.9 1.3

2021

January

1.4 7.4 0.8 2.5 6.0 2.2

Jan. 2019 to 2020

0.5 13.2 -0.9 0.4 3.1 0.2

Jan. 2020 to 2021

0.9 -13.4 2.5 2.3 9.4 1.5

Footnotes
(r) Revised

Exports 

Prices for U.S. exports rose 2.5 percent in January, after advances of 1.3 percent in December and 0.7 
percent in November. Higher agricultural and nonagricultural prices both contributed to the January increase 
in export prices. The price index for U.S. exports rose 2.3 percent for the year ended in January, the largest 
12-month increase since the index advanced 3.1 percent in October 2018. (See table 2.)

Agricultural Exports: Agricultural export prices increased 6.0 percent in January following a 0.9-percent 
advance in December. The January rise was the largest monthly increase since the index advanced 6.0 
percent in July 2012; higher prices for soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, meat, fruit, vegetables, and nuts all 
contributed to the January advance. Prices for agricultural exports rose 9.4 percent over the past year, the 
largest 12-month increase since the index advanced 9.6 percent in June 2013. The rise from January 2020 to 
January 2021 was led by a 41.5-percent increase in soybean prices and a 27.7-percent advance in corn 
prices.            

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Prices for nonagricultural exports rose 2.2 percent in January, the 
largest 1-month increase since the index was first published monthly in December 1988. The January 
advance followed a 1.3-percent rise in December and was driven by higher prices for nonagricultural 
industrial supplies and materials; capital goods; and automotive vehicles which more than offset declining 
consumer goods prices. Nonagricultural export prices increased 1.5 percent for the year ended in January. 
The advance was primarily led by higher prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials.         

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices 
advanced 6.0 percent in January, after rising 3.7 percent in December. The January increase was driven by 
higher prices for fuel, nonferrous metals, steelmaking materials, and chemicals.

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in January. Prices for capital goods ticked up 0.1 
percent and automotive vehicle prices advanced 0.3 percent. In contrast, consumer goods prices fell 0.7 
percent in January. The decline was led by a 2.1-percent drop in the price index for medicinal, dental, and 
pharmaceutical materials. The January decline in consumer goods prices was the largest monthly drop since 
the index decreased 1.0 percent in January 2017. 

Measures of Import and Export Prices by Locality

Imports by Locality of Origin: Import prices from China rose 0.3 percent for the second consecutive 
month in January. Those increases are the largest 1-month advances since the index rose 0.3 percent in 
November 2017. The price index for imports from China advanced 0.7 percent over the past 12 months, the 
largest over-the-year increase since a 0.8-percent rise from August 2011 to August 2012. Prices for imports 
from Japan rose 0.2 percent in January, after a 0.2-percent advance in December. Import prices from Japan 
rose 0.5 percent over the past year, the largest 12-month advance since the index increased 0.5 percent in 
January 2019. The price indexes for imports from Canada and from Mexico also rose in January, advancing 
5.1 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Prices for imports from the European Union increased 0.4 percent 
for the second consecutive month in January. (See table 7.)

Exports by Locality of Destination: Prices for exports to China edged down 0.1 percent in January 
following advances of 1.9 percent in December and 1.8 percent in November. The January decline was the 
first decrease since the index fell 1.2 percent in September 2020. Despite the decrease, the price index for 
exports to China rose 3.9 percent over the past 12 months. Export prices to Japan advanced 2.2 percent in 
January, after rising 1.4 percent the previous month. The January increase was the largest monthly advance 
since the index rose 4.4 percent in June 2020, and prices for exports to Japan increased 3.8 percent over the 
past year. The price index for exports to Canada advanced 2.1 percent in January and export prices to 
Mexico rose 3.2 percent. Prices for exports to the European Union also increased in January, advancing 1.3 
percent following a 1.6-percent rise in December. (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 
declined 0.4 percent in January, after increasing 4.2 percent from September to December. Advancing 
import prices from China and decreasing export prices to China contributed to the January decline in U.S. 
terms of trade with China. Despite the drop, the index for U.S. terms of trade with China rose 3.1 percent for 
the year ended in January. The U.S. terms of trade with Japan increased 2.0 percent in January and 3.3 
percent over the past year. The indexes for U.S. terms of trade with Mexico and the European Union also 
advanced in January, rising 2.4 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. In contrast, the U.S. terms of trade 
with Canada declined 2.9 percent in January. (See table 9.)

Import and Export Services

Imports: Import air passenger fares declined 5.6 percent in January following a 3.9-percent advance in 
December. The January decrease was the largest 1-month drop since a 12.3-percent decline in April and 
lower Asian, European, and Latin American/Caribbean fares all contributed to the decrease. Import air 
passenger fares fell 13.6 percent for the year ended in January. Prices for import air freight decreased 5.8 
percent in January, after increasing 21.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. The January drop was the 
largest monthly decline since the index fell 14.0 percent in July 2020. Import air freight prices rose 69.3 
percent from January 2020 to January 2021. (See table 10.)

Exports: The index for export air passenger fares advanced 11.2 percent in January following a 9.5-percent 
decline in December and a 14.5-percent increase in November. The January rise in export air passenger 
fares was driven by a 23.4-percent advance in Asian fares. Export air passenger fares increased 8.0 percent 
over the past 12 months. Export air freight prices advanced 1.4 percent in January and edged down 0.1 
percent over the past year.   

U.S. Import and Export Price Index data for February are scheduled for release on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 
at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

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Last Modified Date: February 18, 2021