Feb. 14, 2012 — U.S. import prices rose 0.3 percent in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, after ticking down 0.1 percent in December. Higher prices for both fuel and nonfuel imports contributed to the January increase. Prices for U.S. exports also advanced in January, rising 0.2 percent following a 0.5 percent decline the previous month.
All Imports: Overall import prices increased for the second time in three months in January, rising 0.3 percent following a 0.1 percent downturn in December and a 0.7 percent advance in November. Prior to the past three months, import prices had trended mostly down between June and October. However, the price index for overall imports rose 7.1 percent over the past 12 months. In January, both a 1.0 percent increase in fuel prices and a 0.1 percent uptick in nonfuel prices contributed to the monthly rise.
Fuel Imports: Prices for import fuels rose 1.0 percent in January after declining 0.6 percent the previous month and increasing 3.3 percent in November. The January advance was driven by a 1.2 percent rise in petroleum prices. In contrast, prices for natural gas decreased a further 5.8 percent in January following a 4.1 percent drop in December. Fuel prices increased 20.8 percent for the year ended in January, led by a 23.7 percent advance in petroleum prices, the largest component of import fuels, which more than offset a 22.5 percent decline in the price index for natural gas.
All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices ticked up 0.1 percent in January after a 0.2 percent advance the previous month. In January, prices for the major nonfuel categories were mixed. The price indexes for foods, feeds, and beverages; capital goods; and automotive vehicles rose for the month, while prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; and consumer goods declined. Prices for nonfuel imports increased 2.9 percent over the past year.
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