Inflation report: Shipping prices in October rose past June record for 2021

National

Custom officials check documents with a man at a container port in Yantai in eastern China’s Shandong province Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. China’s import and export growth slowed in September amid shipping bottlenecks and other disruptions combined with coronavirus outbreaks. (Chinatopix via AP)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — October price increases hit more than just products on the shelves, but the cost of even bringing them in as fuel costs continued to rise amid record inflation levels and increased costs getting passed on to American buyers.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that import costs increased 1.2 percent in October, the largest monthly increase since May 2021.

Year to year, the price of importing for the U.S. rose 10.7 percent, the largest increase since June 2021. The bulk of that price rise is due to import fuel getting more expensive, rising by 86.7 percent according to BLS.

Costs for natural gas aren’t doing any better.

“The price index for import fuel rose 86.7 percent over the past year,” BLS reported. “Both an 86.1-percent advance in petroleum prices and a 134.0-percent increase in natural gas prices factored into the 12-month rise in import fuel prices in October.”

Ignoring fuel, import costs increased 0.4 percent in October, mainly for vehicles, foods, feeds and beverages. From October 2020 to October 2021, BLS reported the import costs for nonfuel items was up 5.5 percent.

Getting into what that means for everyday Americans, the cost of bringing in favorite products is higher. Even the cost of shipping in items to store shopper favorites like bourbon and bacon was up, as glass shortages make bottling the popular liquor difficult.

The supply chain snarls that have eaten up savings for shoppers are affecting different regional shipping in different ways. Imported air freight, the cargo coming in to the U.S., is getting more expensive on its way from Asia than Europe. BLS statistics showed the costs for shipping in from Asia increased 35.2 percent, while they only increased 6.7 percent from Europe from October 2020 to October 2021.

Gas is more expensive, and the costs of transporting consumer goods is rising as a result.

That’s making the prices in stores increase, hitting everyday shoppers in the check-out line, even as the cost of everything from housing to new cars continues to rise. The record levels of inflation, the highest since 1990, show no signs of slowing down.

Those higher costs are discouraging Americans from spending their hard-earned dollars, leading to a decrease in the average holiday spending by each adult in the U.S., according to reports by the National Retail Federation.

The inbound freight costs are increasing. That means transporting, storing, and delivering the products that come to your local grocery store, Walmart, Best Buy and other consume favorites is also getting more expensive, as the cost of importing goes up with it.

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