Import Prices Held Steady in March
Washington, DC, April 12, 2018-U.S. import prices recorded no change in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, following a 0.3% rise in February.
Higher nonfuel prices offset declining prices for imported fuel in March. Prices for U.S. exports advanced 0.3% in March, after rising 0.2% the previous month.
Import prices recorded no change in March following rises of 0.3% in February and 0.8% in January. The index has not declined on a monthly basis since decreasing 0.2% in July 2017.
Prices for U.S. imports rose 3.6% between March 2017 and March 2018. The last 12-month decline in import prices was a 0.2% drop for the period ended October 2016.
Fuel prices fell for the second consecutive month, declining 1.6% in March following a 1.0% drop in February. The March decrease was the largest monthly decline since the index dropped 3.6% in June 2017.
Lower prices for both petroleum and natural gas drove the decline in fuel prices.
Prices for imported petroleum declined 1.3% and natural gas fell 9.5%. Despite the decrease in March, fuel import prices advanced 18.7% between March 2017 and March 2018. The price index for petroleum imports rose 19.4% over the past 12 months. Prices for imported natural gas increased 20.0% over the same period.
Prices for nonfuel imports rose 0.2% in March, following increases of 0.5% in February and January. Contributing to the March advance were higher import prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; capital goods; and foods, feeds, and beverages, which more than
offset declining prices for automotive vehicles and consumer goods. Nonfuel import prices advanced 2.1% on a 12-month basis for the second consecutive month, the largest over-the-year increases since a 2.4% advance in February 2012. An 8.0% rise in nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices drove the 12-month advance in March.