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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Boosted in November by Oil
by Tom Moeller December 12, 2007

During November, another jump in petroleum prices raised overall import prices by 2.7% after a 1.4% October increase. Consensus expectations had been for a 2.4% gain.

Petroleum prices, overall, gained 18.0% (68.7% y/y). Fuel oil prices rose 18.0% (68.7% y/y) and crude petroleum prices rose 7.5% (53.0% y/y).

Less petroleum, import prices rose 0.7% after a 0.5% rise uptick during October.

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 reduced 47% against a broader basket of currencies. Why a Dollar Depreciation May Not Close the U.S. Trade Deficit from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is available here

Prices for industrial supplies & materials excluding petroleum surged 2.7% (7.9% y/y). The detailed import price series can be found in the Haver USINT database.

Capital goods import prices rose 0.2% (0.8% y/y). Prices of computers, peripheral and semiconductors fell 0.2% (-5.1% y/y). Less the high tech sector, capital goods prices rose an accelerated 0.3% (3.2% y/y).

Prices for imports of consumer goods rose 0.2% (1.7% y/y) as apparel prices were unchanged after firm gains early this year (1.5% y/y). Prices for furniture and household items rose 0.2% (2.0% y/y).

Overall export prices were strong again and posted a 0.9% gain (6.1%y/y). Agricultural prices rose another strong 1.4% (23.0% y/y) while nonagricultural prices also were firm and rose 0.8% (4.6% y/y).

Global Savings, Investment and World Real Interest Rates is a 2007 working paper from the Royal Bank of Canada and it can be found here.

Import/Export Prices (NSA) November October Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Import - All Commodities 2.7% 1.4% 11.4% 4.8% 7.5% 5.6%
  Petroleum 9.8% 5.1% 53.0% 20.6% 37.6% 30.5%
  Non-petroleum 0.7% 0.5% 3.0% 1.7% 2.7% 2.6%
Export- All Commodities 0.9% 0.8% 6.1% 3.6% 3.2% 3.9%
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