February 19, 2019
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in one of its latest release reported an increase in both US import and export indexes. U.S. import prices increased 1.0% in January, albeit at a slower pace than the December 0.2%. Prices of export increased a 0.8% in January versus a 0.1% in December.
Higher prices for both nonfuel imports and fuel imports contributed to the January advance experienced in imports. Import prices advanced 3.6 % for the calendar year 2017 (Jan-Dec).
According to the Bureau: “ Fuel prices increased 4.7% in January following a 2.9% advance in December and a 9.8% rise in November. Higher prices for petroleum and natural gas contributed to the increases in all 3 months. Prices for petroleum advanced 4.3% in January, after rising 2.3% the previous month and 9.5% in November. The price index for natural gas increased 20.7% in January following advances of 20.0%in December and 25.7 % in November. Prices for fuel imports rose 19.7% over the past 12 months. Petroleum prices increased 20.9% for the year ended in January and prices for natural gas advanced 16.2% over the same period.”
Non-fuel imports advance 0.4% in January. This after a marginal decline of 0.1% in December 2017. The January increase was the largest monthly advance since the index rose 0.4% in March 2012. The last time the index increased more than 0.4% was a 0.8% rise in April 2011. Prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; automotive vehicles; foods, feeds, and beverages; and capital goods all contributed to the January advance. For the calendar 2017 year nonfuel imports increased 1.9%. The calendar year advance was primarily driven by rising prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials.
The 0.8% increase in export prices has been the highest since the index advanced 1.1% in May 2016.The recent month increase was due mainly to non-agricultural products as agricultural produce prices declined for the month.
As reported by the Bureau: “Prices for agricultural exports edged down 0.1% in January, after falling 0.3% the previous month. The January drop was driven by a 5.8-% decline in soybean and other oilseeds prices. Despite the recent decreases, prices for agricultural exports rose 1.4% over the past year. Rising meat prices were the primary contributor to the advance in agricultural prices for the year ended in January.”
The Bureau further reported that, “Non-agricultural export prices advanced 0.9% in January following a 0.1-% rise in December. The price indexes for non-agricultural industrial supplies and materials; capital goods; automotive vehicles; and consumer goods all rose in January. Prices for non-agricultural export indexes advanced 3.7 % from January 2017 to January 2018, the largest 12-month increase since a 4.0% rise for the year ended December 2011.”
The price index for export increased 3.4% over the last 12 months.
Imports by Locality
Prices for imports from Japan increased 0.6% in January, after recording no change the previous month. In January, import prices from China recorded no change for the second consecutive month. The price index for imports from China rose 0.2% for the year ended in January, the first 12-month advance since the index increased 0.1% in October 2014 and the largest since the index advanced 0.3% in July 2014 Higher fuel prices led the January increase for import prices from Canada, up 2.5%, and Mexico, up 0.7%. Prices for imports from the European Union also rose increasing 0.5%.