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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Price Gain Stays Under Control With Lower Oil Prices
by Tom Moeller  February 14, 2014

Import prices ticked up a minimal 0.1% during January following a 0.2% December rise, revised from no change. A 0.1% slip had been expected in the Action Economics survey. A 1.2% decline (-4.0% y/y) in petroleum prices last month offset a 0.4% rise (-0.9% y/y) in nonpetroleum prices, the largest increase since May 2011.

Last month's strength in nonpetroleum prices reflected a 0.8% rise (4.9% y/y) in foods, feeds & beverages costs as well as a 0.7% gain (0.1% y/y) in nonauto consumer goods prices. Capital goods prices rose 0.2% (-0.6% y/y), the strongest gain since September 2012. Automotive prices were off 0.2% (-1.6% y/y).

U.S. export prices increased 0.2% last month (-1.2% y/y) after a 0.5% December rise, revised from 0.4%. No change in prices had been expected. A 0.5% decline (-5.7% y/y) in agricultural export costs kept overall prices under control. Nonagricultural prices improved 0.2% (-0.5% y/y).

Capital goods export prices gained 0.4% (0.5% y/y) while auto costs increased 0.2% (0.5% y/y). Industrial supplies & materials export prices also rose 0.2% (-1.7% y/y) while nonauto consumer goods prices remained unchanged (-1.0% y/y). To the downside, foods, feeds & beverages costs fell 0.7% (-6.2% 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 from the Action Economics Forecast Survey is in the AS1REPNA database.

Import/Export Prices (NSA, %) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Imports - All Commodities 0.1 0.2 -0.9 -1.5 -1.1 0.3 10.9
  Petroleum -1.2 0.8 -4.7 -4.0 -2.6 -0.3 36.5
  Nonpetroleum 0.4 0.1 0.1 -0.9 -0.6 0.3 4.5
Exports - All Commodities 0.2 0.5 0.1 -1.2 -0.4 0.4 8.1
  Agricultural -0.5 0.3 -0.2 -5.7 1.7 2.4 22.3
  Nonagricultural 0.2 0.5 0.1 -0.5 -0.7 0.1 6.6
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