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U.S. Import Prices Drop Again on Cheaper Fuel

Prices for U.S. imports decreased 1.0 percent in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics…

  • February 5, 2019

Prices for U.S. imports decreased 1.0 percent in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, after a 1.9-percent fall the previous month.

Lower fuel prices drove the decline in December, and non-fuel prices recorded no change.

The November drop was the largest monthly decline since the index fell 3.2 percent in January 2015. Prices for imports decreased 0.6 percent in 2018 following a 3.2-percent increase the previous year. The decline in 2018 was the first calendar-year drop since import prices fell 8.3 percent in 2015.

Prices for import fuel declined 9.2 percent in December, after a 13.3-percent drop the previous month. The December decrease was driven by an 11.6-percent decline in petroleum prices which more than offset a 30.3-percent advance in natural gas prices.

Import fuel prices fell 10.4 percent in 2018 following a 21.8-percent increase the previous year. The 2018 decline is the first calendar-year decrease since 2015, when import fuel prices fell 41.0 percent. In 2018, a 14.0-percent drop in petroleum prices more than offset a 67.6-percent increase in prices for natural gas.

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