The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

U.S. Import & Export Prices Down in October

Lower fuel prices again drives down monthly prices.

Prices for U.S. imports decreased 1.3 percent in October following a 0.6-percent decline in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The October and September drops in overall import prices were driven by lower fuel prices. U.S. export prices declined 1 percent in October after a 0.4-percent decline in September and 0.5-percent decline in August.

Prices for overall imports continued a four-month downward trend in September, falling 1.3 percent after decreasing 1.6 percent the previous three months. The October decline was the largest monthly drop since a 2.3-percent decrease in June 2012. In October, the drop was led by lower fuel prices, although nonfuel prices fell as well. The price index for overall imports declined 1.8 percent over the past 12 months, the largest year-over-year drop since a 1.8-percent decrease in November 2013.

Import fuel prices decreased 6.5 percent in October following declines each of the previous three months. The October decline was the largest monthly drop since the index fell 8.5 percent in June 2012. In October, a 6.9-percent decrease in petroleum prices led the decline in overall fuel prices. In contrast, natural gas prices rose 0.8 percent. Fuel prices also fell for the year ended in October, declining 10.1 percent. The price index for petroleum decreased 11.1 percent from October 2013 to October 2014, and natural gas prices increased 25.4 percent for the same period.

Prices for nonfuel imports declined 0.2 percent in October, after edging down 0.1 percent the previous month. In October, lower prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials, consumer goods, and capital goods more than offset rising foods, feeds, and beverages prices. Despite the recent increases, nonfuel import prices increased 0.3 percent over the past year. Higher prices for foods, feeds and beverages and consumer goods more than offset falling prices for automotive vehicles, capital goods and nonfuel industrial supplies and materials.

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