January 15, 2009
Import prices fell 4.2 percent in December and have fallen 21.7 percent overall since July. Overall, import prices fell 9.3 percent in 2008, the first year the index declined since a 9.1-percent drop in 2001. The 2008 decrease was also the largest calendar year decline since the index was first published in 1982.
Petroleum prices fell sharply for the fifth consecutive month, decreasing 21.4 percent in December after falling 55.5 percent over the previous four months. Despite increasing 51.6 percent over the first seven months of 2008, petroleum prices finished the year down 47.0 percent for the December 2007-2008 period. That decline was the largest calendar year decrease since the index was first published in 1982 and followed a 48.1-percent increase in 2007.
Nonpetroleum prices also decreased for the fifth consecutive month in December and the index declined 4.9 percent overall since July. In December, the index fell 1.1 percent after a 1.8-percent decrease in November.
Export prices fell 2.3 percent in December as both agricultural and nonagricultural prices declined. Prices for exports were down 7.5 percent in the last quarter of 2008, the largest three-month decrease since the index was first published in 1983. Export prices declined 3.2 percent in 2008, the first calendar year drop since 2001 and the largest since 1998.
These data are from the BLS International Price program. Import and export price data are subject to revision. Learn more in "U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes -- December 2008" (PDF) (HTML), news release USDL 09-0033.