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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import and Export Prices Rise in November
by Winnie Tapasanun  December 15, 2021

• Import prices gain 0.7% in November as fuel prices rise 2.0%.

• Excluding fuels, import prices increase 0.5%.

• Export prices rise 1.0% with ag export prices up 0.8% and nonag export prices up 1.0%.

Import prices rose 0.7% m/m (11.7% y/y) in November after an upwardly revised 1.5% gain in October (+1.2% initially) and an unrevised 0.4% increase in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The November m/m rise was the 12th in 13 months. Export prices rose 1.0% last month (18.2% y/y) following revised gains of 1.6% in October (+1.5% initially) and 0.3% in September (+0.4% initially). The Action Economics Forecast survey had expected rises of 0.7% in import prices and 0.5% in export prices in November.

The rise in import prices in November was driven by a 2.0% gain (86.1% y/y) in imported fuel prices following an upwardly revised 11.1% October advance (+8.6% initially). The key contributors to the gain in imported fuel costs were m/m rises of natural gas (27.4%; 108.7% y/y), fuel oil (5.5%; 76.2% y/y), other petroleum products (3.7%; 79.2% y/y), and petroleum & petroleum products (0.4%; 85.8% y/y). Prices for imported crude oil, however, fell 1.6% (+87.5% y/y), the first m/m fall since August, after a 12.0% jump. Nonfuel import prices rose 0.5% (6.3% y/y), the third consecutive monthly rise, after a 0.5% gain, led by m/m price increases of 1.6% in nonfuel industrial supplies & materials (23.6% y/y), 0.2% in consumer goods ex autos (1.9% y/y), 0.2% in capital goods (2.3% y/y), and 0.2% in automotive vehicles & parts (2.6% y/y) but offset by a 0.3% decline in foods, feeds & beverages (+13.2% y/y).

The November rise in export prices reflected gains in both agricultural and nonagricultural export prices. Agricultural export prices rose 0.8% (21.4% y/y) in November, the third m/m gain in four months, after a 1.0% rebound in October. Nonagricultural export prices increased 1.0% (17.8% y/y), the 13th straight m/m gain, on top of a 1.7% October rise. Industrial supplies & materials export prices grew 2.1% (45.2% y/y), the 13th successive m/m advance, after a 3.5% gain. Export prices for foods, feeds & beverages rose 0.5% (20.6% y/y), the third m/m rise in four months, after a 1.0% gain. Nonauto consumer goods prices increased 0.4% (2.4% y/y) following a 0.2% October rise and three straight m/m declines. Capital goods prices were up 0.3% (3.5% y/y), the 11th consecutive m/m rise, after a 0.3% increase. Auto export prices ticked up 0.1% (1.7% y/y) after rising 0.4%.

The import and export price series can be found in Haver's USECON database. Detailed figures are available in the USINT database. The expectations figure from the Action Economics Forecast Survey is in the AS1REPNA database.

Import/Export Prices (NSA, %) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Imports - All Commodities 0.7 1.5 0.4 11.7 -2.5 -1.3 3.1
  Fuels 2.0 11.1 3.6 86.1 -27.8 -2.1 20.8
  Nonfuels 0.5 0.5 0.1 6.3 0.3 -1.1 1.3
Exports - All Commodities 1.0 1.6 0.3 18.2 -2.8 -0.9 3.4
  Agricultural 0.8 1.0 -1.5 21.4 -0.3 -0.4 0.6
  Nonagricultural 1.0 1.7 0.5 17.8 -3.0 -0.9 3.7
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