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Germany: Import prices 16.4% lower in August 2023 compared with August 2022

Christian Fernsby |
This represents the largest year on year decline in import prices recorded since November 1986 (-16.5% on November 1985).

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As in the previous months, the decline is primarily due to a base effect originating from the large price increases in 2022 as a result of the war in Ukraine.

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that the year-on-year change rate was -13.2% in July 2023 and -11.4% in June 2023. Compared with July 2023, import prices were up 0.4% in August 2023, after having fallen consistently month on month since September 2022.

Export prices in August 2023 also decreased substantially year on year, dropping -5.1% from August 2022. Compared with the previous month, export prices rose by 0.1%.

Energy imports in August 2023 cost 54.0% less than in August 2022 but were 4.1% more expensive than in July 2023. Natural gas had the biggest influence on the year-on-year rate of change for energy, with prices in August 2023 73.4% lower than they were in August 2022. Compared with July 2023, prices were down 4.4%.

All other imported energy sources were also considerably less expensive than in the same month a year earlier: the prices of electricity fell by 79.7%, hard coal by 61.4%, crude oil by 23.0%, and mineral oil products by 19.3%.

Compared with the previous month, the prices of imported energy sources were significantly higher, however: electricity was 20.9% more expensive than in July 2023, mineral oil products cost 11.9% more, and the prices of crude oil increased by 7.5% and hard coal by 1.2%.

When energy prices are excluded, import prices in August 2023 were 3.4% lower than in August 2022. Compared with July 2023, they were down 0.3%.

If only crude oil and mineral oil products are not considered, the import price index was 16.0% below the level of the previous year (-0.4% compared with July 2023).

The prices of imported intermediate goods were 9.7% lower in August 2023 than in August 2022. Compared with July 2023, they were down 0.7%.

The prices of a number of goods were down compared with August 2022, including fertiliser and nitrogen compounds (-53.7%), unwrought aluminium and aluminium alloys (-28.0%), plastics in primary forms (-21.5%), and basic iron, steel and ferro-alloys (-19.2%).

By contrast, higher prices were recorded particularly for starches and starch products (+36.3%) and hollow glass (+14.3%).

The prices of imported agricultural products were 1.5% lower than in August 2022 (-0.2% compared with July 2023).

Lower prices than in the same month a year earlier were recorded especially for green coffee (-29.2%), natural rubber (-20.7%) and grain (-19.4%). By contrast, higher prices were paid for imports of live pigs (+52.6%) and cocoa beans (+42.6%).

On average, imported durable consumer goods cost slightly less than in August 2022 (-0.3%), while they were 0.3% more expensive than in July 2023.

The prices of capital goods were 2.5% higher than a year earlier (unchanged from July 2023). Higher prices than in August 2022 were recorded especially for motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers (+4.7%) and for machinery (+3.1%).

On average, consumer goods prices were also higher than a year earlier (+0.5%) and were up 0.1% compared with July 2023.

Imported non-durable consumer goods were 0.7% more expensive year on year (+0.1% compared with July 2023), primarily due to the increase in the price of food (+2.2% compared with August 2022, but -0.5% compared with July 2023).

Compared with August 2022, particularly sharp price increases were registered for prepared and preserved fruit and vegetables (+7.1%) and beverages (+6.5%).

Meat and meat products were 2.5% more expensive than a year earlier. Pork prices, in particular, were much higher than in August 2022 (+26.6%).

By contrast, milk and milk products were less expensive (-14.0%) than a year earlier.

The index of export prices in August 2023 was 5.1% lower than in August 2022. This was the largest decline in export prices compared with the same month a year earlier since the monthly index calculation began in 1962.

The year-on-year rate of change was -3.2% in July 2023, and -0.9% in June 2023. Compared with July 2023, export prices were up slightly by 0.1%, after having fallen consistently month on month since January 2023.

Energy export prices were 59.7% lower in August 2023 than a year earlier (+9.7% on July 2023). As with import prices, the sharp drop in natural gas prices (-73.8% on the previous year) was the main reason for the year-on-year decline in energy export prices.

Natural gas was exported at higher prices (+3.3%) compared with the previous month. Mineral oil products were also less expensive than a year earlier (-17.5%) but had increased in price (+11.3%) compared with July 2023.

The price of exported intermediate goods was down 4.8% on August 2022 (-0.6% on July 2023). The export prices of agricultural products were 8.5% lower than a year before (-1.2% compared with July 2023).

By contrast, capital goods were exported at prices which were 3.5% higher than a year earlier. The prices of exported consumer goods were also higher than a year earlier (+2.1%).

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