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Economy in Brief

Import Prices Jumped
by Tom Moeller September 9, 2005

Import prices last month about matched Consensus expectations and jumped 1.3%, although July's gain was revised lower to 0.8% from 1.1% reported initially.

Petroleum prices surged another 7.1% on top of a downwardly revised 6.1% spike in July. So far in September, Brent crude oil prices have averaged $65.00 and yesterday traded at $63.79/bbl. versus an average $64.10 in August.

Import prices other than petroleum were unchanged following three consecutive months of 0.2% decline. The July decline was revised deeper from 0.1%. Prices for nonauto consumer goods fell 0.2% (+1.1% y/y) for the second month and capital goods prices were unchanged (-0.4% y/y). Computer, peripheral & semiconductor prices rose 0.1% (-6.0% y/y). Excluding computers capital goods prices fell 0.1% (2.2% y/y) for the second consecutive month.

During the last ten years there has been a 66% (negative) correlation between the nominal trade-weighted exchange value of the US dollar vs. major currencies and the y/y change in non oil import prices. The correlation is a lower 47% against a broader basket of currencies and a lower 57% against the real value of the dollar.

Export prices slipped 0.1% as agricultural prices fell 0.6% (+6.6% y/y) and nonagricultural prices fell 0.1% (+2.7% y/y).

U.S. Jobs Gained and Lost through Trade: A Net Measure from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is available here.

The Beige Book covering U.S. regional economic conditions from the Federal Reserve Board can be found here.

Import/Export Prices (NSA) Aug July Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Import - All Commodities 1.3% 0.8% 7.6% 5.6% 2.9% -2.5%
  Petroleum 7.1% 6.1% 42.5% 30.5% 21.0% 3.0%
  Non-petroleum 0.0% -0.2% 1.8% 2.6% 1.1% -2.4%
Export - All Commodities -0.1% 0.1% 3.1% 3.9% 1.6% -1.0%
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