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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Down With Oil, All Others Tame
by Tom Moeller October 13, 2006

Total import prices fell 2.1% last month after an unrevised 0.8% August increase. The decline outpaced Consensus expectations for a large 1.5% decline.

Prices of petroleum imports plunged 10.3% after a 2.1% August gain. In October, the price of Brent crude oil already has fallen another 8.5% to $57.07 per bbl. Less petroleum, import prices increased a modest 0.1% after the firm 0.5% rise during August.

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.

Have U.S. Import Prices Become Less Responsive to Changes in the Dollar? from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.

Capital goods prices were unchanged (-0.2% y/y) for the second month. Excluding computers, capital good prices rose 0.2% (1.8% y/y) after having been unchanged during August. Prices for nonauto consumer goods rose 0.1% (0.9% y/y) for the second month while prices for nonoil industrial supplies & materials rose 0.4% (6.6% y/y) after a little revised 1.5% August increase.

Export prices fell 0.5% as both agricultural prices fell 0.7% (4.4% y/y) and nonagricultural commodities prices dropped 0.5% (+3.7% y/y).

Oil Prices and the U.S. Trade Deficit from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Import/Export Prices (NSA) September August Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Import - All Commodities -2.1% 0.8% 2.0% 7.5% 5.6% 2.9%
  Petroleum -10.3% 2.1% 2.9% 37.6% 30.5% 21.0%
  Non-petroleum 0.1% 0.5% 2.0% 2.7% 2.6% 1.1%
Export- All Commodities -0.5% 0.4% 3.7% 3.2% 3.9% 1.6%
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