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Import/Export Price Indexes

Recent Price Trends in the Metal Industry

An overview of Semiconductor Manufacturing price indexes


Metal cogs

U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes contain data on changes in the prices of nonmilitary goods and services traded between the United States and the world. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics produces these indexes, which are Principal Federal Economic Indicators.

Q: How have import metal prices trended over the 2019–2021 period? (See chart 1)

  • Primary metal manufacturing import prices increased 49.1 percent from December 2018 to December 2021. The index decreased 2.4 percent from December 2018 to May 2020. From May 2020 to June 2021, the index rose 53.6 percent, which accounted for most of the advance during the three year period.
  • In 2020, prices for primary metal manufacturing imports rose 20.9 percent. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the index sharply fell 6.6 percent in April 2020. That was the largest monthly decrease since the index declined 10.8 percent in December 2008.
  • Increasing prices for nonferrous metal production led to the rise of import prices for primary metal manufacturing over the second half of 2020 into the first half of 2021.

Q: How did import metal prices compare with other economic data?

  • Import primary metal manufacturing prices trended similarly to producer and export prices over the 3- year period. Although all price indexes rose over from 2018 to 2021, in the second half of 2019, import and producer prices fell in contrast to export prices, which advanced. Producer prices increased throughout 2021 at a higher rate compared to import and export prices.
  • The primary metal manufacturing producer price index increased 58.6 percent over the three year period ended December 2021. The index decreased 9.7 percent in 2019, increased 5.2 percent in 2020, and then increased 66.9 percent in 2021.

Q: How have export metal prices trended over the 2019–2021 period? (See chart 1)

  • Export primary metals prices increased 47.9 percent from December 2018 to December 2021. Prices for export primary metals increased 6.3 percent in 2019, 17.9 percent in 2020, and 18.0 percent in 2021.
  • The 18.0-percent advance in 2021 was largely driven by increases in the first half of the year. The export price index rose 17.3 percent from December 2020 to June 2021, then advanced 0.6 percent from June 2021 to December 2021.

Q: What are the top six exporting states and territories for metal manufacturing? (See chart 2)

  • In 2021, the total trade value of exported primary metals was $76.8 billion, a 34.5 percent rise from 2020. The top 6 exporting states accounted for 66.2 percent of this value.
  • New York ranked first among U.S. states and territories with $19.3 billion in export trade value. That accounted for 25.1 percent of total U.S. primary metal manufacturing exports.
  • New Jersey and Utah ranked second and third with $10.4 billion and $8.6 billion in trade dollar value, respectively. The two states accounted for 13.5 and 11.2 percent of total U.S. primary metal manufacturing exports, respectively.

Q: How are import and export price indexes useful to you?

Import and export price indexes can provide a new perspective for your trade analyses. Although many sources report domestic market prices and trade volume, IPP data are unique in measuring import and export price movement.

For example, if you are involved in the metal industry and are considering conducting business overseas, IPP primary metal manufacturing indexes can supplement your industry research by providing long-term import and export price trends.

Q: How are import and export price indexes used?

Import and export price indexes are used for a variety of purposes:

  • In the conversion of U.S. trade figures from current dollars to constant dollars in U.S. trade statistics including the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Quarterly Gross Domestic Product and the Census Bureau’s monthly U.S. trade statistics.
  • To assess the impact of international trade on domestic inflation and the competitive position of the United States.
  • As a tool for analyzing fiscal and monetary policy, measuring the impact of exchange rates, and escalating trade contracts.
  • To identify industry-specific and global price trends.

Last Modified Date: August 16, 2022