U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES FEBRUARY
2012 U.S. import prices increased 0.4 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as higher fuel prices more than offset declining nonfuel prices. The price index for imports was unchanged in the two previous months. U.S. export prices also rose 0.4 percent in February after a 0.2 percent advance in January.
All Imports: The 0.4 percent February increase marked only the second time that import prices have recorded a monthly advance greater than 0.1 percent since the index rose 2.6 percent in April 2011. Prices for overall imports increased 5.5 percent over the past 12 months, the smallest year-over-year rise since the index advanced 5.3 percent between December 2009 and December 2010.
Fuel Imports: The price index for import fuel increased 1.4 percent in February after remaining unchanged in January and falling 0.5 percent in December. Fuel prices advanced 15.2 percent for the year ended in February. Both the monthly and 12-month rise in fuel prices were driven by higher petroleum prices which advanced 1.8 percent in February and 18.4 percent over the past 12 months. In contrast, natural gas prices fell for the third consecutive month, declining a further 10.1 percent in February after recording decreases of 6.8 percent and 4.0 percent the two previous months. Prices for natural gas fell 36.5 percent over the past year, the largest 12-month drop in the index since a 49.1 percent decrease in October 2009.
All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices edged down 0.1 percent in February after ticking up 0.1 percent in January. In February, a 3.0 percent drop in food prices and a 0.1 percent decline in capital goods prices more than offset higher prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials. The price index for nonfuel imports rose 2.3 percent for the year ended in February.
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