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U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES - FEBRUARY 2019

The Free Press WV

Prices for U.S. imports advanced 0.6 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, after ticking up 0.1 percent in January and falling 1.4 percent in December. The February increase was led by higher fuel prices. U.S. export prices rose 0.6 percent in February following decreases of 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent the previous 2 months.


Imports

U.S. import prices increased 0.6 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since a 0.9-percent advance in May. Despite the February increase, import prices declined 1.3 percent from February 2018 to February 2019. Both fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the 12-month decrease.

Fuel Imports: Prices for import fuel rose 4.9 percent in February, after advancing 4.1 percent in January and falling 13.3 percent in December. The February increase was the largest monthly advance since a 6.1-percent rise in May. Higher prices for both petroleum and natural gas contributed to the February increase. Petroleum prices advanced 4.7 percent in February and prices for natural gas rose 10.5 percent over the same period. Despite the February increase, fuel prices fell 6.5 percent over the past 12 months. Prices for petroleum drove the 12-month decline, falling 7.9 percent. Natural gas prices partially offset the over-the-year decline, rising 17.5 percent.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices recorded no change in February following a 0.3-percent decrease in January. Rising prices for consumer goods and nonfuel industrial supplies and materials offset declining prices for foods, feeds, and beverages and capital goods. Prices for automotive vehicles recorded no change. The price index for nonfuel imports declined 0.6 percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year drop since September 2016.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices increased 0.3 percent in February. Higher prices for lumber, copper, and nickel contributed to the February advance.
Finished Goods: Import prices for finished goods were mixed in February. The price index for consumer goods rose 0.3 percent, driven by higher prices for medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical materials. Capital goods prices edged down 0.1 percent and automotive vehicle prices recorded no change.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages fell 0.8 percent in February. The monthly drop was led by a 7.3-percent decline in vegetable prices. A 2.1-percent rise in meat prices partially


Exports

U.S. export prices rose 0.6 percent in February following a 0.5-percent decline in January and a 0.7-percent drop in December. Higher prices for both agricultural and nonagricultural commodities contributed to the February increase. The price index for U.S. exports advanced 0.3 percent over the past 12 months driven by higher nonagricultural prices.

Agricultural Exports: Export prices for agricultural commodities rose 0.3 percent in February, after falling 2.1 percent in January. Despite the February advance, overall agricultural prices fell 0.2 percent over the past 12 months. Lower prices for soybeans, meat, and nuts drove the 12-month decline.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural export prices increased 0.7 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since April 2018. Higher prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials led the February increase, with rising prices for each of the finished goods categories contributing to the advance. The price index for nonagricultural exports increased 0.3 percent for the year ended in February following a 0.2-percent decline for the 12-month period ended in January. The 12-month rise in February was driven mostly by higher prices for capital goods, offsetting lower prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials.

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices rose 1.6 percent in February, after recording a 1.4-percent decline in January. Higher prices for fuel led the February increase, with rising prices for gold contributing as well.

Finished Goods: Prices for finished goods were up in February. Capital goods prices rose 0.2 percent, primarily driven by higher prices for transportation equipment. Prices for export automotive vehicles increased 0.4 percent, the largest monthly advance since January 2018. In February, consumer goods prices rose 0.3 percent.

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