Import/Export Price Indexes (MXP) Survey Respondents

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the International Price Program (IPP)?

The IPP produces the U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes, which measure the changes in the prices of goods and services imported into and exported from the United States by companies from over 150 countries. The Import/Export Price Indexes, along with the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index , form the basis of the three major Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) programs measuring the change in prices of goods and services in the U.S. economy. Each of the three has been designated as a principal federal economic indicator (PFEI).

What do the U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes measure?

The U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes measure the change over time in the prices of goods or services purchased from abroad by U.S. residents (imports) or sold to foreign buyers by U.S. residents (exports). Included are changes in the prices of imports for the United States’ top six trading partners — Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Import/export price indexes for goods are published using the following classification systems: Bureau of Economic Analysis System, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), and the Harmonized Classification System. Services indexes are published as import/export or as inbound/outbound and include data for air freight and air passenger fares. Note: Although import and export transaction prices are used to calculate the indexes, the IPP does not publish price information.

How are the Import/Export Price Indexes used?

The import and export price indexes are primarily used to deflate government trade statistics (using price indexes to make comparisons over time), including:

  • Monthly U.S. trade statistics
  • Quarterly Balance of Payments Account
  • Import and Export components of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Additionally, the indexes are valuable input for:

  • Predicting possible future inflation in both domestic production and prices charged to consumers
  • Setting fiscal and monetary policy
  • Measuring the impact of exchange rates
  • Forecasting future prices using historical data
  • Negotiating private trade contracts
  • Identifying industry specific and global price trends

For additional information, please see the MXP FAQs page

Online: What do I do if I have data from a previous month or I made a mistake in a previous month?

Online: What do I do if I my items are no longer traded?

Online: What are price factors and how can I change them?

When is the deadline for submitting my prices?

We need to receive your data by the last business day of the month in order for it to be included in the current month's indexes.

How long do my items remain in the Import/Export Price Indexes?

Each item is included for a period of five years.

Can I provide prices in alternate ways?

In addition to providing data through our secure site at http://idcf.bls.gov, you may also submit price data via mail to U.S. DOL, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Code 5, Washington, DC 20212; via fax at (877) 237-8070 toll-free or (202) 691-7272; or via telephone (202) 691-7101. If you prefer to provide your prices through an alternate means, you may either contact the IPP HelpDesk or the Industry Analyst whose contact info is displayed after logging in to the site. If you provide prices using paper forms, the Industry Analyst to contact is listed at the top right-hand corner of the pricing forms.

Are the data I provide confidential?

Yes. Your company's participation, including sampled products and prices, will be held in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. BLS will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only, in accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002. For more information, please see the Confidentiality page.

I already provide data to other BLS programs. What makes the IPP different?

The U.S. Import/Export Price Indexes produced by the IPP is the only measure that tracks changes in import and export prices. With the ever expanding importance of international trade, measuring these changes is vital to policy makers, businesses, and individuals. There are no substitutes for this measurement.

How do I obtain my User ID number and password?

Contact the IPP.HelpDesk@bls.gov to have your account number/username and a temporary password sent to you. You can also find your account number/username listed in the reminder emails sent to you each month you are scheduled to provide data. Enter the account number/username on the home page of our site at https://idcf.bls.gov and click the “Forgot Password” link to have your current password emailed to you. Once the email is sent you will have three days to log into the web system and create a new password.

How do I contact an Industry Analyst with questions related to my data?

If you are submitting data using our secure site and need to reach the IPP Industry Analyst responsible for your data, you may contact the IPP.HelpDesk@bls.gov and your request will be forwarded to the Industry Analyst. You may also call the Industry Analyst directly using the contact information displayed after logging into the site.

Last Modified Date: September 30, 2014

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