The United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics has recently reported an import price increase of 0.7 percent for November; bucking a downward trend over the prior three months. Despite a decrease in non-fuel imports, rising fuel prices countervailed falling prices elsewhere. Export prices also raised slightly for the month, up 0.1 percent; having dropped by 2.1 percent in October.
The highest import price rise since April 2011 (2.6 percent), November’s price increase follows decreases in August (0.5 percent), September (0.1 percent), and October (0.4 percent). Through November, import prices have increased an overall 9.9 percent for the year. Most increases took place during the first half of the year.
Import price increases in November were largely driven by the 3.6 percent climb in import fuel prices, which had been in decline for five of the six prior months. Despite fuel prices falling 7.2 percent between April and October, overall fuel prices have risen 31.6 percent since last November. Petroleum and natural gas prices also increased in November by 3.6 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. Prices reflected this increase seeing a 33.4 percent rise in petroleum prices and a 5.8 percent rise in the price of natural gas.
Excluding fuel, import prices fell 0.2 percent in November, following an equal decline in October. The consecutive month decreases were the first since a 0.3 percent decline in July 2010. The driving forces behind November’s fall were non-fuel industrial supplies, materials imports, and imported foods, beverages, and livestock feeds. November declines were not nearly enough to offset increases over the prior 12-month period which has seen overall non-fuel prices rise 3.8 percent.