The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

U.S. Import & Export Prices Down in September

Lower fuel prices again drives down monthly prices.

Prices for U.S. imports decreased 0.5 percent in September following a 0.6-percent decline in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both the September and August drops in overall import prices were driven by lower fuel prices. U.S. export prices declined 0.2 percent in September after a 0.5-percent decline in August.

Prices for overall imports continued a three-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.

Import fuel prices 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.

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.

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