Prices for U.S. imports fell 0.5 percent in September, after declining 0.6 percent in August and 0.3 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Each of the three monthly decreases was led by falling fuel prices. The price index for U.S. exports also declined in September, decreasing 0.2 percent following a 0.5-percent drop in August.
All Imports: Overall import prices continued a 3-month downward trend in September, falling 0.5 percent. Prices for imports decreased 1.4 percent from June to September, the largest quarterly drop since the index declined 1.4 percent during the final quarter of 2013. In September, fuel prices drove the decrease, although nonfuel prices also declined. The price index for overall imports fell 0.9 percent for the year ended in September, the largest 12-month decrease since the index fell 1.1 percent in February.
Fuel Imports: Prices for import fuel decreased 2.1 percent in September following a 3.1-percent drop in August and a 1.5-percent decline in July. Lower petroleum and natural gas prices contributed to the September decline, falling 2.0 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively. Fuel prices decreased 5.8 percent over the past 12 months, the largest year-over-year decline since the index fell 8.1 percent between April 2012 and April 2013. The decrease in fuel prices over the past year was led by a 6.6-percent drop in petroleum prices which more than offset a 35.6-percent increase in natural gas prices.
All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices edged down 0.1 percent in September, after recording no change the previous month. In September, lower prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials and automotive vehicles more than offset an increase in the price index for foods, feeds, and beverages. Despite the decline, prices for nonfuel imports rose 0.5 percent over the past year. Higher prices for consumer goods; nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; and foods, feeds, and beverages all contributed to the advance.
All Exports: The price index for exports declined 0.2 percent in September, which continued an overall downward trend for the index since April. In September, lower prices for both agricultural exports and nonagricultural exports contributed to the decline. Export prices decreased 0.2 percent for the year ended in September, the first 12-month decline for the index since a 0.1-percent drop in April.
Agricultural Exports: Agricultural prices declined 0.9 percent in September following declines of 3.0 percent, 1.8 percent, and 1.9 percent over the previous 3 months. In September, the decrease was driven by a 6.2-percent drop in soybean prices, a 2.1-percent decline in meat prices, and a 3.9-percent fall in corn prices. The price index for agricultural exports fell 2.9 percent over the past year, led by lower prices for soybeans and corn.
All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Prices for nonagricultural exports declined 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month in September. Decreasing prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials, consumer goods, and automotive vehicles all contributed to the drop in overall nonagricultural prices. The price index for nonagricultural prices recorded no change for the year ended in September. Each of the major finished goods categories rose over the past 12 months, while nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices declined.