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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Up 0.9%
by Tom Moeller August 10, 2006

Total import prices were up 0.9% in July about matching consensus expectations for an increase of 0.8%.

Less petroleum, import prices were down 0.10% from the previous month led by a 0.9% drop in import prices of nonoil industrial supplies and materials after three consecutive months of increases. Lower import prices of nonferrous metals, natural gas and building materials contributed to the decline in prices of nonoil industrial supplies and materials although higher import prices of chemicals and finished metals offset some of the decline.

Capital goods prices rose 0.1% (-0.44% y/y) while prices for nonauto consumer goods were down 0.1% from the previous month and unchanged from the previous year.

Prices of petroleum imports increased 4.7% in July following a 1.4% decline in June. Brent crude oil prices jumped to $73.77 per barrel in July from a June average of $68.56.

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 were up 0.4% in July led by increases in export prices of both agricultural and nonagricultural commodities.

Import/Export Prices (NSA) July June Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Import - All Commodities 0.9% 0.0% 7.0% 7.5% 5.6% 2.9%
  Petroleum 4.7% -1.4% 29.6% 37.6% 30.5% 21.0%
  Non-petroleum -0.1% 0.4% 2.3% 2.7% 2.6% 1.1%
Export - All Commodities 0.4% 0.7% 4.4% 3.2% 3.9%
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