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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Decline; Export Prices Rise
by Tom Moeller  July 13, 2018

Import prices declined 0.4% during June (+4.3%) following a 0.9% rise in May, which was revised from 0.6%. A 0.1% uptick had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Weakness in import prices was broad-based last month. Petroleum import costs declined 0.8% (+37.9% y/y) following two months of strong gains. Nonpetroleum import prices eased 0.3% (+1.4% y/y), the first decline in six months. Prices of foods, feeds and beverages fell 2.6% (-2.1% y/y) after a 0.4% rise. Industrial supplies and materials prices excluding petroleum increased 0.4% (8.0% y/y) following a 0.1% gain. Capital goods prices slipped 0.1% (+0.6% y/y) for the second consecutive month. Prices of computers, peripherals & semiconductors fell 0.2% (+0.2% y/y). Capital goods prices excluding computers, semiconductors & peripherals eased 0.1% (+0.8% y/y) after holding steady for two months. Prices of motor vehicles and parts fell 0.1% (0.0% y/y), down for the third month in the last four. Prices of consumer goods excluding automobiles declined 0.3% (+0.3% y/y) after rising 0.1% for each of the last two months.

Export prices increased 0.3% (5.3% y/y) last month after an unrevised 0.6% strengthening. A 0.2% rise had been expected.

Agricultural export prices pulled back 1.0% (+5.4% y/y) following a 1.6% rise. Nonagricultural export prices increased 0.4% (5.4% y/y) after a 0.6% gain. Among the end-use categories, prices of industrial supplies and materials strengthened 1.2% (13.2% y/y), as petroleum prices increased 3.5% (32.9% y/y). Nonagricultural supplies and materials prices excluding fuels and building materials increased 0.3% (7.5% y/y) following a 0.2% rise. Prices of foods, feeds and beverages were off 0.9% (+4.9% y/y) and reversed the May increase. Capital good prices edged up 0.1% (1.9% y/y) for a second straight month with computers, peripherals & semiconductors down 0.2% (+1.7% y/y). Excluding this sector,j capital goods prices were up 0.2% (2.1% y/y) after a 0.1% rise. Prices of motor vehicles and parts eased 0.1% (+0.9% y/y) and reversed May's rise. Prices of consumer goods excluding automobiles edged down 0.1% (+1.3% y/y) after holding steady in the prior month.

The import and export price series can be found in Haver's USECON database. Detailed figures are available in the USINT database. The expectations figure from the Action Economics Forecast Survey is in the AS1REPNA database.

Import/Export Prices (NSA, %) Jun May Apr Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Imports - All Commodities -0.4 0.9 0.5 4.3 2.9 -3.3 -10.2
  Petroleum & Petroleum Products -0.8 7.4 4.2 37.8 26.6 -19.7 -46.0
  Nonpetroleum -0.3 0.1 0.1 1.4 1.1 -1.5 -2.8
Exports - All Commodities 0.3 0.6 0.5 5.3 2.4 -3.2 -6.3
  Agricultural -1.0 1.6 -1.1 5.4 1.5 -5.4 -13.3
  Nonagricultural 0.4 0.6 0.7 5.4 2.5 -3.0 -5.5
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