The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

U.S. Import & Export Prices Down in August

Decline in prices driven by lower fuel prices.

Prices for U.S. imports decreased 0.9 percent in August following a 0.3-percent decline in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both the August and July drops in overall import prices were driven by lower fuel prices. U.S. export prices declined 0.5 percent in August after ticking up 0.1 percent in July.

Prices for overall imports declined 0.9 percent in August, the largest monthly drop in import prices since a 0.9-percent decrease in November 2013; those were the largest declines since a 2.3-percent drop in June 2012. The August 2014 decrease resulted from lower fuel prices which more than offset a 0.1-percent increase in nonfuel prices. The price index for overall imports fell 0.4 percent for the year ended in August, the first 12-month decline since a 0.4-percent decrease in April.      

Import fuel prices fell 4.6 percent in August following a 1.7-percent decline in July. The August drop in fuel prices was the largest 1-month decrease for the index since an 8.5-percent decline in June 2012. Both petroleum and natural gas prices contributed to the decrease in August fuel prices, declining 4.4 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively. Prices for imported fuel decreased 4.5 percent over the past year, after rising 4.1 percent between August 2012 and August 2013. The 12-month decrease for fuel prices in August was led by a 5.3-percent drop in petroleum prices which more than offset a 35.4-percent jump in natural gas prices.  

The 0.1-percent advance in nonfuel prices in August was the first monthly uptick in the price index for nonfuel imports since a 0.3-percent rise in March. Higher prices for foods, feeds, and beverages; nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; and automotive vehicles all contributed to the August increase. The price index for nonfuel imports rose 0.7 percent over the past year.

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