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Import and Export Prices, 2003 - page 3 / 7

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Chart 1.

Changes in the CPI, PPI, and import and export price indexes, 1999–2003

12-month percent change

12-month percent change

4

4

CPI less food and and energy

2

2

0

  • -

    2

  • -

    4

    • U.

      S. export price index excluding agricultural products

  • U.

    S. import price index

excluding petroleum

0

PPI for finished goods less food and energy

  • -

    2

  • -

    4

December

June

1999

2000

December

June

December

June

December

June

December

2000

2001

2001

2002

2002

2003

2003

  • -

    6

  • -

    6

work stoppage at its State-owned oil company Petróleos de

seasonal travel demand pushed up gasoline prices, while demand for cooling increased natural-gas prices. Meanwhile, a 7-percent production cut announced by OPEC, coupled with a temporary decline in crude exports out of Iraq, kept crude-oil markets tight. Gasoline prices pushed higher in the summer due to a pipeline rupture inArizona and a shutdown of three Midwest refineries as a result of theAugust power blackout. By fall, declines in demand allowed both natural-gas and crude-oil inventories to build back up somewhat; however, an announcement by OPEC that it would cut exports by a further 900,000 barrels of crude oil per day effective November 1 affected energy spot markets, and crude prices of imports rose 8.7 percent over the last quarter of 2003. Thus, despite the sharp increase during the first quarter, natural-gas prices fell 38.4 percent throughout the remainder of 2003, to finish up 18.8 percent overall over the year.

enezuela from late 2002 into the early part of 2003. Venezuela ranks as the world’s fifth-largest oil supplier and fourth as a supplier of crude oil to the United States. As a result of the work stoppage, U.S. refineries conserved existing crude inventories by reducing inputs into refinery production, thereby drawing down the inventories, which remained extremely low through February. Furthermore, strong seasonal demand, combined with Middle East supply disruptions and cuts in production levels from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), pushed petroleum and related products prices higher in 2003.At the same time, natural-gas prices spiked 93.0 percent in the first 3 months of the year. Tight oil markets and bitterly cold temperatures early in the year sent demand for natural gas soaring, and by April, storage was more than 45 percent below the 5-year average.

By March, Venezuelan oil imports resumed, causing crude- oil prices to drop slightly. Then, in April, the U.S. advance in Iraq and an abundance of crude imports—a record average of 10.6 million barrels per day—led crude-oil prices to plummet 15.5 percent. Inventories in the United States subsequently increased by more than 12 million barrels, but remained at least 40 million barrels below 5-year averages. Similarly, prices for petroleum products and natural gas dropped due to a slackening oil market and moderating temperatures. By summer, however,

Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials. This component— which excludes petroleum, natural gas, coal, and nuclear and electrical energy—made up nearly 14 percent of the U.S. import price index for all commodities.3 The price index for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials finished up 6.3 percent for the year, compared with a 3.6-percent increase the previous year. Prices for every subcomponent of nonfuel industrial supplies and materials advanced in 2003, with chemicals and unfinished metals prices having the largest impact. In the chemicals area,

Monthly Labor Review

September 2004

5

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