Import prices

Release Date: Usually released on monthly basis in the middle of the month (usually on the 13th of the month)
Release Time: At 8.30am US Eastern Time
Released By: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Import Prices report is released every month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and measures the change in the prices of goods imported into the United States. This report is also known as the Import Price Index.

The scope of measurement of the US Import Price data consists of all imported goods and services that are purchased by U.S. residents and companies. Imports are usually classified into Fuel Imports and Non-Fuel Imports. Items such as products for military use and works of art are not included in the calculation. Price data is usually obtained from a survey of US importers, who provide this data on a voluntary basis. The merchandise sampling frames for imports used in the calculation are obtained exclusively from the US Customs Service.

Data sources for services are researched and developed separately for each category, with the most recent 12 months being used as the reference period for a sampling frame. Apart from the confidential survey of US importers, price data from secondary sources is also used in the calculation.

The Import Prices data used to be published quarterly from 1974 to 1989, and then became a monthly news release thereafter.

Time of Release

The Import Prices report usually comes out in the US on a monthly basis in the middle of the month (usually on the 13th of the month). The data released covers the import prices for the previous month. The time of release is 8.30am US Eastern Time. The data is released on the website of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and also on independent news feeds from Bloomberg and Thomas Reuters.

Interpreting the Data

The Import Prices data is a moderate impact news release. It constitutes one of the earliest government-released data on inflation, and can have an impact on businesses and consumers which have a heavy dependence on imported products.

An increase in import prices is seen as USD positive because of inflationary impact. An increase in import prices of raw materials used for manufacturing will cause an increase in the price of the end goods, creating an inflation-positive scenario which could prompt a government to consider raising rates. A decrease in import prices would create the reverse effect. Import prices are not as subject to local control as export prices.

Due to its status as a moderate impact news release, the Import Prices data is not directly tradable off the charts. Rather it should be used as a predictive indicator for data such as Trade Balance reports, and the inflation reports.


The Import Price Index is also released at the same time as the Export Price Index. View the Bureau of Labor Statistics website for details.