U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES – DECEMBER 2011
U.S. import prices edged down 0.1 percent in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, after rising 0.8 percent the previous month. In December, declining prices for fuels more than offset a 0.1 percent rise in nonfuel prices. Export prices also decreased in December, falling 0.5 percent following a 0.1 percent advance in November.
All Imports: Import prices resumed a downward trend, declining 0.1 percent following a 0.8 percent upturn in November. The price index for overall imports rose 8.5 percent in 2011, driven by a 9.2 percent increase for the index over the first five months of the year. 2011 was the third consecutive year that import prices rose, advancing 5.3 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively in 2010 and 2009, after declining 10.1 percent in 2008.
Fuel Imports: Fuel prices fell 0.5 percent in December after rising 3.7 percent in November. In December, lower prices for both petroleum and natural gas, down 0.4 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, each contributed to the overall decline. Despite falling 3.4 percent since April, overall fuel prices advanced 25.2 percent in 2011 as a 27.4 percent rise in petroleum prices more than offset a 9.4 percent drop in natural gas prices. Fuel prices previously advanced 14.2 percent in 2010 and 62.2 percent in 2009.
All Imports Excluding Fuel: The price index for nonfuel imports ticked up 0.1 percent in December following 0.2 percent decreases in each of the two previous months. In December, higher prices for each of the major finished goods categories led nonfuel import prices up despite lower prices for nonfuel industrial
supplies and materials and foods, feeds, and beverages. Nonfuel import prices advanced 3.4 percent over the past year after rising 3.0 percent in 2010. Higher prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; foods, feeds, and beverages; and finished goods all contributed to the 2011 increase in nonfuel prices.
All Exports: Prices for overall exports declined 0.5 percent in December, following a 0.1 percent advance in November and a 2.0 percent decrease in October. In December, falling prices for both agricultural exports and nonagricultural exports factored into the decrease in export prices. The price index for overall exports rose 3.6 percent in 2011 after rising 6.5 percent in 2010 and 3.4 percent in 2009.
Agricultural Exports: The price index for agricultural exports fell 2.6 percent in December, driven by lower prices for corn, soybeans, and wheat, down 8.2 percent, 4.0 percent, and 7.8 percent, respectively. Agricultural prices advanced 0.8 percent in 2011 despite falling 7.4 percent in the final quarter of the year.
Agricultural prices rose 20.5 percent in 2010 and 9.2 percent in 2009 in contrast to the relatively small increase in 2011. The rise in agricultural prices in 2011 was driven by a 28.1 percent increase in vegetable prices and a 7.9 percent advance in corn prices.
All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural prices fell 0.2 percent in December, led by lower prices for nonagricultural supplies and materials. Prices for nonagricultural exports rose 4.0 percent in 2011 after a 5.1 percent increase the previous year and a 2.9 percent advance in 2009.
SELECTED DECEMBER HIGHLIGHTS
Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices edged down 0.1 percent in December led by a 0.7 percent drop in chemicals prices. In contrast, prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials rose 6.8 percent in 2011, driven by higher prices for both chemicals and metals.
Finished Goods: Prices for each of the major finished goods categories advanced in December and overall in 2011. Consumer goods prices rose 0.2 percent for the month and 3.2 percent in 2011, the largest calendar-year increase since a 3.5 percent advance in 1990. Prices for capital goods increased 0.2 percent in December, and advanced 0.9 percent over the past year. The price index for automotive vehicles ticked up 0.1 percent in December, and increased 3.7 percent in 2011, the largest calendar-year rise since a 3.9 percent advance in 1993.
Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: The price index for foods, feeds, and beverages fell 0.4 percent in December, driven by a 4.8 percent decline in vegetable prices. In contrast, foods, feeds, and beverages prices rose 6.3 percent over the past 12 months, led by a 41.4 percent jump in coffee prices in 2011.
Imports by Locality of Origin: The price indexes for imports from China, Mexico, and Japan all ticked up 0.1 percent in December, and each advanced in 2011, up 3.6 percent, 5.8 percent, and 2.3 percent, respectively. The 3.6 percent increase in import prices from China in 2011 was the largest calendar-year advance in the index since the index was first published in December 2003, and followed a 0.8 percent increase in 2010. In contrast, prices for imports from Canada fell 0.4 percent in December and the price index for imports from the European Union decreased 0.2 percent.
Transportation Services: Import air passenger fares advanced 1.6 percent in December and 5.7 percent over the past year. The December increase was led by higher Asian and Latin American/Caribbean fares. Import air freight prices fell for the fourth consecutive month, declining 0.6 percent in December. Despite those declines, the index rose 4.0 percent in 2011.
Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: The price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials fell 0.6 percent in December, led by a 2.9 percent drop in fuel prices that more than offset a 1.7 percent increase in prices for nonferrous metals. Despite decreasing 4.3 percent during the last three months of 2011, nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices rose 7.9 percent for the year.
Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in December. Consumer goods prices ticked up 0.1 percent, automotive vehicle prices edged down 0.1 percent, and prices for capital goods recorded no change. Each of the major finished goods categories advanced in 2011, with consumer goods prices rising 3.6 percent, automotive vehicle prices 2.6 percent, and capital goods prices 0.7 percent.
Transportation Services: Export air passenger fares increased 1.7 percent in December, driven by higher Asian and Latin American/Caribbean fares. The index for export air passenger fares rose 10.8 percent in 2011. Export air freight prices ticked up 0.1 percent in December, and advanced 12.6 percent over the past year.
Import and Export Price Index data for January 2012 are scheduled for release on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, at 8:30 a.m.
For the full release, go HERE.