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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Rise After Four Months of Decline
by Tom Moeller  August 13, 2013

Import prices increased 0.2% last month following a 0.4% June decline, initially reported as -0.2%. A 0.9% rise in prices had been expected in the Action Economics survey. A 3.2% jump (7.8% y/y) in petroleum prices was accompanied by a 0.5% decline (-0.7% y/y) in nonpetroleum costs, the third consecutive month of meaningful decline.

Last month's decline in nonpetroleum import prices was led by a 2.3% drop (-2.1% y/y) in nonoil industrial supplies & materials prices. Also down by 0.5% (-1.0% y/y) were auto & parts prices as well as nonauto consumer goods prices by 0.2% (-0.1% y/y). These declines were countered by a 0.2% rise (1.5% y/y) in foods, feeds & beverage prices. Capital goods prices outside of the high-tech area ticked up 0.1% (-0.5% y/y) but computers, peripheral & semiconductor costs were unchanged (-0.9% y/y).

U.S. export prices continued weak and slipped 0.1% (+0.4% y/y), the fifth consecutive monthly shortfall. A 0.1% rise had been expected. The 0.3% decline (+3.1% y/y) in agricultural prices led the way lower while nonagricultural goods export prices were unchanged both m/m and y/y. Nonauto consumer goods export prices ticked up 0.1% (-0.7% y/y) as did auto export prices (0.4% y/y). To the downside were prices of foods, feeds & beverages exports by 0.4% (+1.6% y/y) and capital goods export prices by 0.3% (1.0% y/y). Prices of industrial supplies & materials slipped 0.2% (-0.3% 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, %) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Imports - All Commodities 0.2 -0.4 -0.6 1.0 0.3 10.9 6.9
  Petroleum 3.2 -0.8 -1.8 7.8 -0.3 36.5 28.4
  Nonpetroleum -0.5 -0.3 -0.3 -0.7 0.3 4.5 2.8
Exports - All Commodities -0.1 -0.1 -0.5 0.4 0.4 8.1 4.9
  Agricultural -0.3 0.8 1.0 3.1 2.4 22.3 7.9
  Nonagricultural 0.0 -0.2 -0.7 0.0 0.1 6.6 4.6
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