Imports and Exports

Import and Export PricesU.S. Imports and exports are linked to International Trade in Goods and Services and used to track the balance of trade in the US for various categories of goods and services. 

In May, export prices rose by 2.2% to an index level of 138.8. Prices for imports advanced by 1.1%, with the respective index increasing to 132.5. Prices for both imports and exports are now well above their pre-pandemic levels, with the former surging by 11.3% and the latter soaring by 17.4% on a yearly basis.  

Prices for U.S. exports continued to rise for the twelfth consecutive month, beating market expectations of a 0.8% gain. Last month’s advance was driven primarily by a 6.1% increase in the cost of agricultural products—the largest one in over a decade. Non-agricultural export prices increased by 1.7%, driven by industrial supplies and consumer goods. May’s gain in export prices is reflective of the rising costs that producers have faced for the past several months. Producer inflation registered 6.6% last month—also its highest level in over a decade. Exports had their largest year-over-year price increase since the index was first published in 1983.  

U.S. import prices also beat market estimates, which expected a 0.8% increase. Fuel prices advanced the most in May, surging by 4%. Non-fuel import prices rose by 0.9%, likewise led by industrial supplies and consumer goods. Automotive vehicle prices also increased last month, as the global semiconductor shortage continues to put pressure on the industry. Overall, import prices had their largest yearly gain since 2011, adding to the rapidly rising inflation rate in the U.S.  

Import Price Index

Export Price Index

June 16, 2021