The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

U.S. Import & Export Prices Down in January

Lower fuel prices continue to drive down monthly prices.

Prices for U.S. imports decreased 2.8 percent in January, after falling 1.9 percent in December and 1.8 percent in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each of the monthly decreases was driven by lower fuel prices. U.S. export prices declined 2 percent in December and has not recorded a monthly advance since July.

The January decline was the largest one-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.

Import fuel prices decreased 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 percent over the past 12 months, the largest year-over-year drop since the index fell 41 percent between August 2008 and August 2009.

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 one-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.

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