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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import and Export Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  June 13, 2013

Prices in the U.S. foreign trade sector are under pressure. Import prices fell 0.6% last month (-1.9% y/y) following a revised 0.7% April drop, initially reported as -0.5%. No change in prices had been expected in the Action Economics survey. Lower petroleum prices again led the way lower with a 2.0% drop (-6.2% y/y).

Nonpetroleum import prices declined 0.3% (-0.5% y/y) after 0.1% declines in the prior two months. Nonoil industrial supplies & material costs fell 1.3% (-1.7% y/y) while motor vehicle & parts prices were off 0.2% (-0.2% y/y). Capital goods prices outside of the high-tech area slipped 0.2% (-0.5% y/y) but computers, peripheral & semiconductor costs increased 0.4% (-0.7% y/y). That followed three months of 0.2% decline. Prices for nonauto consumer goods fell 0.3% (0.0% y/y) and reversed the prior month's increase. Foods, feeds & beverages prices rose 0.4% (0.2% y/y).

U.S. export prices continued weak and fell 0.5% (-0.9% y/y) after a 0.7% decline in April. That drop contrasted with expectations for a 0.2% shortfall. Agricultural export prices rebounded 1.0% (4.7% y/y) after two months of decline. Nonagricultural prices fell 0.7% (-1.6% y/y) as nonauto consumer goods prices were unchanged (-1.3% y/y). That followed seven consecutive months of decline. Capital goods prices slipped 0.1% (+0.4% y/y) for the third straight month while motor vehicle & parts prices also were down 0.1% (+0.4% y/y).

The import and export price series can be found in Haver's USECON database. Detailed figures are available in the USINT database. The expectations figure is in the AS1REPNA database.

Import/Export Prices (NSA, %) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Imports - All Commodities -0.6 -0.7 -0.1 -1.9 0.3 10.9 6.9
  Petroleum -2.0 -2.8 0.2 -6.2 -0.3 36.5 28.4
  Nonpetroleum -0.3 -0.1 -0.1 -0.5 0.3 4.5 2.8
Exports - All Commodities -0.5 -0.7 -0.5 -0.9 0.4 8.1 4.9
  Agricultural 1.0 -2.3 -1.8 4.7 2.4 22.3 7.9
  Nonagricultural -0.7 -0.5 -0.3 -1.6 0.1 6.6 4.6
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