U.S. import prices fell 2.8 percent in January, after declining 1.9 percent in December and 1.8 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported. Decreasing fuel prices drove each of the monthly drops. The price index for U.S. exports decreased 2.0 percent in January, and has not recorded a monthly advance since July.
All Imports: The price index for U.S. imports declined 2.8 percent in January. The index has not recorded a monthly advance since June 2014, and the January drop was the largest 1-month decrease since the index fell 4.6 percent in December 2008. U.S. import prices decreased 8.0 percent between January 2014 and January 2015, the largest 12-month decline since the index fell 12.0 percent in September 2009.
Fuel Imports: Fuel prices fell 16.9 percent in January following declines of 11.3-percent in December and 9.2-percent in October. The January decrease was the largest monthly drop for the index since a 22.2 percent decline in December 2008. Lower petroleum and natural gas prices, down 17.7 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively, each contributed to the January decrease in overall fuel prices. The price index for import fuel declined 39.0 percent over the past 12 months, the largest year-over-year drop since the index fell 41.0 percent between August 2008 and August 2009. In January, the 12-month decline in fuel prices was led by a 40.1-percent decrease in petroleum prices and a 29.0-percent drop in natural gas prices.
All Imports Excluding Fuel: Prices for nonfuel imports fell 0.7 percent in January and have not recorded a monthly advance since July 2014. The January decline matches the 0.7-percent drop in January 2009, and those were the largest 1-month decreases since the index fell 1.1 percent in December 2008. Decreases in prices for each of the major finished goods categories; nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; and foods, feeds, and beverages all contributed to the overall decline in nonfuel import prices. The price index for nonfuel imports decreased 0.9 percent for the year ended in January.
All Exports: U.S. export prices declined 2.0 percent in January after declines of 1.0-percent in December and 0.9-percent in both November and October. The January drop matched a 2.0-percent decline in October 2011, the largest monthly decrease since the index fell 2.2 percent in December 2008. Both agricultural and nonagricultural prices contributed to the overall drop in January. The price index for overall exports fell 5.4 percent over the past 12 months, the largest year-over-year decline since the index decreased 5.6 percent in September 2009.
All Exports Excluding Agriculture: The price index for nonagricultural exports decreased 2.1 percent in January following declines of 1.0-percent in both December and November. The drop in January was the largest 1-month decrease since the index fell 2.8 percent in November 2008. The January decrease was driven by a sharp drop in nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices, although lower prices for consumer goods and automotive vehicles also contributed to the overall decline. Nonagricultural prices fell 5.3 percent over the past year.
Imports by Locality of Origin: Import prices from China fell 0.3 percent in January, after recording no change in each of the previous 4 months. The decline was the largest monthly drop since the index fell 0.6 percent in May 2013. Prices for imports from Japan decreased 0.7 percent in January following a 0.5-percent decline in December. The January decrease was the largest 1-month drop since the index fell 0.8 percent in April 2013. The price indexes for imports from Canada, the European Union, and Mexico also decreased in January led by lower fuel prices. Import prices from Canada fell 4.8 percent for the month, while prices for imports from the European Union and Mexico decreased 1.0 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices fell 1.2 percent in January, the largest monthly decline since a 1.7-percent drop in July 2013. The January decrease was driven by a 2.2-percent decline in chemicals prices and a 1.9-percent drop in unfinished metals prices.
Finished Goods: Each of the major finished goods categories declined in January. Capital goods prices decreased 0.4 percent, the largest 1-month drop since the index fell 0.5 percent in March 2009. Lower prices for industrial service machinery and computers, peripherals, and semiconductors led the January decline. Consumer goods prices decreased 0.3 percent in January, while prices for automotive vehicles fell 0.5 percent.
Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials declined 6.1 percent in January, after decreasing 3.1 percent the previous month. The January drop was the largest monthly decline since the index fell 8.3 percent in November 2008, and was led by an 18.0-percent drop in fuel prices.
Finished Goods: Consumer goods prices fell 0.8 percent in January, driven by a 3.2-percent decrease in the price index for medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical materials. In January, automotive vehicle prices edged down 0.1 percent, while prices for capital goods ticked up 0.1 percent.