U.S. Import Prices Dip in February While Export Prices Unexpectedly Rise for the Second Straight Month
- Import prices ease 0.1% in Feb. to the lowest index level since Jan. ’22, down for the seventh time in eight months, led by a 4.9% decline in imported fuel prices.
- Excluding fuels, import prices rise 0.4%, up for the third consecutive month.
- Export prices beat expectations again rising 0.2%, reflecting a 1.0% rebound in ag export prices and the second successive gain in nonag export prices.
- Import and export prices post their first negative y/y rates since late-2020.
Import prices slipped 0.1% m/m in February after a 0.4% decline in January (-0.2% initially) and a 0.1% uptick in December (-0.1% previously), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The February reading was the seventh monthly fall in eight months to the lowest index level since January 2022. The year-on-year rate fell to -1.1% from a positive January pace of 0.9%, registering the first negative y/y rate since December 2020 (-0.3%) and the deepest since September 2020 (-1.3%). Export prices unexpectedly rose 0.2% in February after a 0.5% increase in January (+0.8% initially) and a 3.0% decline in December (-3.2% previously). The y/y rate dropped to -0.8%, the first negative y/y rate and the lowest since November 2020 (-1.0%), from January’s 2.2%. The Action Economics Forecast survey had expected a 0.3% m/m decline in both import prices and export prices for February.
The monthly decline in import prices in February was led by a 4.9% decrease (-11.6% y/y) in imported fuel prices after falling at the same pace in January. The February m/m reading was the eighth successive m/m decline following rises from January to June of last year. The decrease in imported fuel costs reflected a 55.6% plunge (-16.4% y/y) in natural gas and a 0.2% decline (-2.7% y/y) in other petroleum products; however, import prices for crude oil (1.9%; -16.8% y/y), fuel oil (1.8%; 7.2% y/y), and petroleum & petroleum products (1.5%; -11.8% y/y) increased m/m following their January declines. Nonfuel import prices rose 0.4% (0.2% y/y) in February, the third straight m/m rise, after a 0.2% increase in January (+0.3% initially). Import prices for foods, feeds & beverages (1.3%; 2.0% y/y), consumer goods excluding autos (0.5%; 0.3% y/y), capital goods (0.3%; 2.3% y/y), and automotive vehicles & parts (0.2%; 2.5% y/y) posted their m/m gains in February. In contrast, import prices for nonfuel industrial supplies & materials slipped 0.1% (-5.1% y/y), the ninth m/m decline in 10 months, on top of a 0.3% January drop.
The February rise in export prices reflected increases in both agricultural and nonagricultural export prices. Agricultural export prices recovered 1.0% (3.3% y/y) in February after drops of 0.9% in January (-0.2% initially) and 2.4% in December (-2.5% previously). Nongricultural export prices inched up 0.1% (-1.5% y/y) in February after a 0.6% increase in January (+0.8% initially) and a 3.1% decline in December (-3.3% previously). Export prices for foods, feeds & beverages (0.7%; 3.1% y/y), consumer goods excluding autos (0.7%; 2.9% y/y), and capital goods (0.6%; 3.2% y/y) registered their m/m increases in February. However, export prices for industrial supplies & materials (-0.4%; -6.5% y/y) and automotive vehicles & parts (-0.1%; +4.9% y/y) declined m/m following their January increases.
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.
Winnie TapasanunAuthorMore in Author Profile »
Winnie Tapasanun has been working for Haver Analytics since 2013. She has almost 20 years of working in the financial services industry. As Vice President and Economic Analyst at Globicus International, Inc., a New York-based company specializing in macroeconomics and financial markets, Winnie oversaw the company’s business operations, managed financial and economic data, and wrote daily reports on macroeconomics and financial markets. Prior to working at Globicus, she was Investment Promotion Officer at the New York Office of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) where she wrote monthly reports on the U.S. economic outlook, wrote reports on the outlook of key U.S. industries, and assisted investors on doing business and investment in Thailand. Prior to joining the BOI, she was Adjunct Professor teaching International Political Economy/International Relations at the City College of New York. Prior to her teaching experience at the CCNY, Winnie successfully completed internships at the United Nations. Winnie holds an MA Degree from Long Island University, New York. She also did graduate studies at Columbia University in the City of New York and doctoral requirements at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her areas of specialization are international political economy, macroeconomics, financial markets, political economy, international relations, and business development/business strategy. Her regional specialization includes, but not limited to, Southeast Asia and East Asia. Winnie is bilingual in English and Thai with competency in French. She loves to travel (almost 30 countries) to better understand each country’s unique economy, fascinating culture and people as well as the global economy as a whole.