April 14, 2008
The U.S. Import Price Index rose 2.8 percent in March, led by a 9.1-percent advance in petroleum prices. Petroleum prices resumed an upward trend following a 1.9-percent downturn in February.
Prices for petroleum rose 60.0 percent for the year ended in March following a comparatively modest 3.1-percent rise over the previous 12-month period.
A 1.1-percent increase in nonpetroleum prices also contributed to the overall rise and was the largest one-month increase for the index since nonpetroleum prices were first published on a monthly basis in December 1988. The price indexes for overall imports and nonpetroleum imports also advanced for the March 2007-08 period, increasing 14.8 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.
The largest contributor to the March increase in nonpetroleum prices was a 3.6-percent advance in the price index for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials. That rise was mostly driven by a jump in unfinished metals prices, although higher prices for natural gas, finished metals, and chemicals also factored into the advance. Nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices rose 14.7 percent over the past 12 months.
These data are from the BLS International Price program. Import price data are subject to revision. Learn more in "U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes -- March 2008" (PDF) (HTML), news release USDL 08-0457.