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Prices for U.S. imports decreased 1.5 percent in November, after falling 1.2 percent in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both decreases were driven by declining fuel prices. U.S. export prices declined 1 percent in November following a 0.9-percent drop the previous month.
The November decline was the largest monthly drop in import prices since a 2.3 percent decrease in June 2012. Led by lower fuel prices, overall imports declined in each of the past five months, falling 4.2 percent over that period. The price index for imports fell 2.3 percent over the past 12 months, the largest year-over year decline since a 2.7 percent decrease between April 2012 and April 2013.
Import fuel prices decreased 6.7 percent in November, after declining 6 percent in October. The October and November drops were the largest monthly decreases since the index fell 8.5 percent in June 2012. Both monthly declines were driven by lower petroleum prices, which fell 6.9 percent in November and 6.4 percent in October. In November, a 4.6 percent decrease in natural gas prices also contributed to the overall drop in fuel prices, and followed a 0.4 percent advance the previous month. Fuel prices fell 11.5 percent for the year ended November, the largest 12 month drop since the index fell 13.4 percent in July 2012. The November 2014 decrease was led by a 12.3 percent drop in petroleum prices, which more than offset a 10.6 percent increase in natural gas prices over the same period.
The price index for nonfuel imports decreased 0.2 percent for the third consecutive month in November. Prior to the last three months, the last time the index fell by more than 0.2 percent was a 0.4 percent decline in July 2013. Lower prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; foods, feeds, and beverages; and each of the major finished goods categories contributed to the overall decline. Nonfuel import prices were unchanged over the past 12 months as higher prices for consumer goods and foods, feeds, and beverages offset falling prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials, automotive vehicles, and capital goods.