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Economy in Brief

Import Prices Fell Again
by Tom Moeller January 12, 2006

The import prices fell 0.2% last month following the little revised 1.8% drop during November and contrasted with Consensus expectations for a 0.2% increase.

Nonpetroleum again were weak and posted no change versus November. The weakness, however, followed an upwardly revised 0.1% increase the prior month and sharp increases of 0.8% & 0.9% during September and October. Prices for nonauto consumer goods were unchanged (0.5% y/y) though capital goods prices fell 0.1% (-1.1% y/y). Excluding another 0.1% decline in computer prices (-6.2% y/y), capital goods prices fell 0.2% (+1.2% y/y).

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 posted a 0.1% increase following the 0.7% drop in November, revised from -0.9%.

Import/Export Prices (NSA) Dec Nov Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Import - All Commodities -0.2% -1.8% 7.9% 7.5% 5.6% 2.9%
  Petroleum -0.9% -9.2% 42.5% 37.7% 30.5% 21.0%
  Non-petroleum 0.0% 0.1% 2.4% 2.7% 2.6% 1.1%
Export - All Commodities 0.1% -0.7% 2.7% 3.2% 3.9% 1.6%
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