March 18, 2010
The U.S. Import Price Index fell 0.3 percent in February. The decrease was led by a 1.9-percent downturn in fuel prices, which more than offset a 0.2-percent advance in nonfuel prices. Export prices fell 0.5 percent in February after advancing 0.7 percent in each of the previous two months.
In February, import prices decreased for the first time since a 0.6-percent decline in July, falling 0.3 percent. The February downturn followed a 1.3-percent advance in January and was driven by a turnaround in fuel prices. Despite the February decline, import prices advanced 11.2 percent for the year ended in February.
Import fuel prices countered an upward trend in February, falling 1.9 percent following a 4.9-percent rise in January. A 2.2-percent decline in petroleum prices was slightly offset by a 2.6-percent increase in natural gas prices. Over the past year, the price index for petroleum increased 81.3 percent and natural gas prices rose 16.3 percent, driving overall fuel prices up 70.8 percent for the same period.
Prices for nonfuel imports rose for the seventh consecutive month, advancing 0.2 percent. The increase was led by higher prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials. Lower prices for foods, feeds, and beverages, capital goods, and consumer goods mitigated the overall advance. Over the past 12 months, nonfuel import prices increased 2.0 percent.
Export prices decreased for the first time in five months, falling 0.5 percent in February. The February drop was the largest monthly decline since the index fell 0.7 percent in March 2009. Lower agricultural prices accounted for approximately 65 percent of the overall decline. Despite the February decrease, the price index for overall exports rose 3.1 percent over the past 12 months.
The price index for agricultural exports fell 3.8 percent in February, following a 1.3-percent advance in January. Lower prices for soybeans, corn, and wheat led the downturn in agricultural prices. For the year ended in February, agricultural prices rose 2.3 percent.
Nonagricultural prices declined 0.2 percent in February, the first decrease in 11 months. Lower prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials and capital goods contributed to the overall decline in February. The price index for nonagricultural export prices increased 3.3 percent for the year ended in February.
These data are from the BLS International Price program. Import and export price data are subject to revision. For more information, see "U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes — February 2010" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-10-0315.