Import Prices Rose 0.4% in February
Washington, DC, March 15, 2018-U.S. import prices increased 0.4% in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, after rising 0.8% in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In February, higher nonfuel prices more than offset declining prices for imported fuel. Prices for U.S. exports rose 0.2% in February following a 0.8% advance the previous month.
The price index for U.S. imports rose 0.4% in February, the seventh consecutive monthly increase, after advancing 0.8% in January. The last time the index declined on a monthly basis was a 0.2% drop in July 2017.
Import prices advanced 3.5% for the 12-month period ended in February, matching the 12-month rise in November. Those were the largest annual increases since the index rose 3.6% for the 12-month period ended April 2017.
The price index for fuel imports declined 0.6% in February, the first monthly decline since July. Prior to February, the index for fuel imports rose 29.1% between July 2017 and January 2018. Both petroleum and natural gas prices contributed to the decline in overall fuel prices in February. Petroleum prices fell 0.5% and prices for natural gas decreased 3.0%. Despite the February decline, the price index for fuel imports rose 17.4 %over the past 12 months. Petroleum prices increased 18.3% for the year ended in February and prices for natural gas advanced 17.9% over the same period.
The price index for nonfuel imports advanced 0.5% in February, after rising 0.5% the previous month. The last time the index increased by more than 0.5% was a 0.8% advance in April 2011. Prices for capital goods; consumer goods; nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; foods, feeds, and beverages; and automotive vehicles all contributed to the February advance.
The price index for nonfuel imports increased 2.1% over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year rise since the index advanced 2.4% for the year ended February 2012. The primary contributor to the 12-month advance in February was higher prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials.