September 12, 2008 (The Editor’s Desk is updated each business day.)

Import prices drop in August 2008

Import prices fell 3.7 percent in August, the first decrease since December 2007 and the largest one-month decline since the index was first published monthly in December 1988. Despite the drop, import prices rose 16.0 percent over the past year.

Over-the-month percent change in price index for imports, August 2007-August 2008 (not seasonally adjusted)
[Chart data—TXT]

The August decrease in import prices was led by a 12.8-percent decline in petroleum prices, the largest monthly drop since an 18.8-percent decline in April 2003. The August decline in petroleum prices followed a revised 1.0-percent decrease in July; however the index still rose 52.0 percent over the past 12 months.

Nonpetroleum import prices declined 0.3 percent in August after a 0.7-percent increase the previous month. The August decrease was driven by a 16.4-percent downturn in natural gas prices. Overall nonpetroleum prices rose 7.5 percent for the year ended in August.

These data are from the BLS International Price program. Import price data are subject to revision. Learn more in "U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes -- August 2008," (PDF) (HTML) news release USDL 08-1272.