Economic News Release

U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                               USDL-16-0745
8:30 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 12, 2016

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                          U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES - MARCH 2016

U.S. import prices increased 0.2 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The 
advance followed a 0.4-percent drop the previous month and was driven by an upturn in fuel prices which 
more than offset lower nonfuel prices. Prices for U.S. exports recorded no change in March, after falling 0.5 
percent in February. 

Imports

All Imports: The price index for U.S. imports rose 0.2 percent in March, the first monthly increase for the 
index since a 0.1-percent uptick in June 2015. The March advance was the largest 1-month rise since the 
index increased 1.1 percent in May 2015. Despite the upturn, overall import prices remained down over the 
past year, falling 6.2 percent from March 2015 to March 2016. 

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices increased 4.9 percent in March following declines of 5.9 percent in 
February, 15.7 percent in January, and 10.0 percent in December. The March advance was the first monthly 
increase since the index rose 1.5 percent in June 2015 and the largest advance since a 10.8-percent increase 
in May 2015. The March rise was led by a 6.5-percent advance in petroleum prices that more than offset a 
16.1-percent drop in natural gas prices. Fuel prices decreased 38.3 percent over the past 12 months; a 39.5-
percent decline in petroleum prices and a 37.7-percent fall in natural gas prices each contributed to the 
overall drop. 

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Prices for nonfuel imports in March fell 0.1 percent for a third consecutive 
month. Nonfuel import prices have not recorded an increase since the index advanced 0.1 percent in July 
2014. In March, falling prices for consumer goods; foods, feeds, and beverages; and capital goods more than 
countered rising prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials, and automotive vehicles. Nonfuel 
import prices declined 2.5 percent for the year ended in March. 

Table A. Percent change in Import and Export Price Indexes, selected categories

Month IMPORTS EXPORTS
All
imports
Fuel
imports
Nonfuel
imports
All
exports
Agri-
cultural
exports
Non-
agricultural
exports

2015

March

-0.2 1.5 -0.4 0.0 -1.6 0.2

April

-0.2 1.8 -0.3 -0.6 -0.9 -0.7

May

1.1 10.8 0.0 0.5 -1.3 0.6

June

0.1 1.5 -0.2 -0.3 -1.6 -0.1

July

-0.9 -6.1 -0.3 -0.4 1.0 -0.6

August

-1.8 -12.7 -0.3 -1.4 -2.5 -1.3

September

-1.1 -8.4 -0.3 -0.6 -1.4 -0.5

October

-0.3 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 0.1 -0.3

November

-0.6 -4.0 -0.3 -0.7 -0.9 -0.7

December

-1.2 -10.0 -0.3 -1.1 -0.9 -1.1

2016

January

(r)-1.3 (r)-15.7 (r)-0.1 -0.8 -1.3 -0.9

February

(r)-0.4 (r)-5.9 -0.1 (r)-0.5 0.6 (r)-0.5

March

0.2 4.9 -0.1 0.0 -2.5 0.3

Mar. 2014 to 2015

-10.8 -47.7 -1.8 -6.7 -13.7 -5.8

Mar. 2015 to 2016

-6.2 -38.3 -2.5 -6.1 -11.1 -5.6

Footnotes
(r) Revised

Exports

All Exports: U.S. export prices recorded no change in March.  This is the first time that the index did not 
decline since a 0.5-percent rise in May 2015. Prior to March, export prices decreased 0.5 percent in 
February, 0.8 percent in January, and 1.1 percent in December. In March, agricultural prices declined and 
the price index for nonagricultural exports advanced. Overall prices for U.S. exports decreased 6.1 percent 
over the past year. 

Agricultural Exports: Prices for agricultural exports declined 2.5 percent in March, after rising 0.6 percent 
the previous month. The March decrease matched a 2.5-percent drop in August 2015; those were the largest 
1-month declines since the index fell 3.1 percent in August 2014. The decrease in March was driven by 
lower prices for fruit, soybeans, corn, and nuts. Agricultural prices also fell over the past 12 months, 
declining 11.1 percent for the year ended in March. 

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: The price index for nonagricultural exports rose 0.3 percent in March 
following a 0.5-percent decrease in February. The March advance was the first monthly increase for the 
index since a 0.6-percent rise in May 2015. In March, higher prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies 
and materials more than offset falling automotive vehicles prices. Despite the March upturn, nonagricultural 
export prices decreased 5.6 percent over the past 12 months. 


                                    SELECTED MARCH HIGHLIGHTS

Import Prices

Imports by Locality of Origin: In March, import prices from China declined 0.2 percent for the second 
consecutive month. The index has not recorded a monthly increase since ticking up 0.1 percent in December 
2014 and declined 1.8 percent over the past year. That matched the largest 12-month drop since the index 
decreased 2.4 percent for the year ended November 2009. Prices for imports from the European Union also 
declined in March, edging down 0.1 percent. In contrast, the price index for imports from Japan rose 0.1 
percent in March, after increasing 0.2 percent in February. Import prices from Canada and Mexico advanced 
0.5 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, led by an upturn in petroleum prices. 

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices advanced 0.5 
percent in March, the first 1-month increase since the index rose 0.5 percent in July 2014 and the largest 
monthly advance since a 0.6-percent rise in March 2014. The March 2016 increase was led by a 3.2-percent 
increase in unfinished metals prices which more than offset lower chemical prices. 

Finished Goods: Consumer goods prices fell 0.3 percent in March, after increasing 0.3 percent in February. 
The March decline was led by a 1.0-percent drop in the price index for medicinal, dental, and 
pharmaceutical materials. Prices for capital goods also decreased in March, edging down 0.1 percent. In 
contrast, automotive vehicles prices rose 0.1 percent, the first monthly advance for the index since a 0.1-
percent increase in July 2015. 

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages declined 0.6 percent in March, 
following a 1.6-percent decrease the previous month. The March drop was driven by lower prices for 
vegetables, meat, and fruit. 

Transportation Services: Import air passenger fares declined 5.4 percent in March, the largest monthly 
drop since the index fell 6.8 percent in January 2015. The March decrease was led by an 11.3-percent 
decline in European fares. The index for import air passenger fares fell 6.3 percent for the year ended in 
March. Import air freight prices decreased 0.1 percent in March and 12.6 percent over the past year. 

Export Prices

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials 
prices rose 0.8 percent in March following a 2.2-percent decline the previous month. Higher metals prices in 
March drove the increase. 

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in March. The price index for automotive vehicles 
decreased 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month. In contrast, consumer goods prices ticked up 0.1 
percent, the first 1-month increase since the index advanced 0.4 percent in June 2015. Prices for capital 
goods recorded no change in March. 

Transportation Services: Export air passenger fares advanced 7.8 percent in March following a 13.5-
percent drop the previous month. The March increase was the largest monthly rise since the index advanced 
8.3 percent in December 2014. Despite the March rise, export air passenger fares fell 4.6 percent over the 
past year. Export air freight prices declined 3.0 percent in March and 1.8 percent over the past year. 

Import and Export Price Index data for April 2016 are scheduled for release on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 
8:30 a.m. (EDT). 

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Last Modified Date: April 12, 2016
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