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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Increase With Higher Oil Prices
by Tom Moeller  March 13, 2014

Import prices increased 0.9% during February following a 0.4% January gain, revised from 0.1%. A 0.5% rise had been expected in the Action Economics survey. A 4.4% jump (-2.6% y/y) in petroleum prices added to an easier 0.2% improvement (-0.6% y/y) in nonpetroleum prices.

Last month's gain in nonpetroleum prices overall reflected a 1.5% jump (-2.2% y/y) in nonpetroleum industrial supplies & materials prices. Elsewhere, pricing power was nonexistent. Foods, feeds & beverages costs fell 0.7% (+2.8% y/y) and reversed the January rise. Capital goods prices also fell 0.2% (-0.8% y/y), the second down month in the last three. Automotive prices were unchanged (-1.6% y/y) and down a bit over the last several months while nonauto consumer goods prices also were unchanged (0.2% y/y) following a 0.8% January rise.

U.S. export prices increased 0.6% last month (-1.3% y/y) after an unrevised 0.2% January gain. A 0.2% rise in prices had been expected. A 1.7% rise (-6.0% y/y) in agricultural export costs provided power behind the overall price increase. Nonagricultural prices also were strong and improved 0.6% (-0.7% y/y).

Industrial supplies & materials export prices rose 1.6% (-1.5% y/y). The increase was driven by a 3.3% rise (-0.4% y/y) in agricultural and a 2.5% gain (2.1% y/y) in petroleum prices. Capital goods export prices gained 0.2% (0.2% y/y), the same as in January. These increases were offset by a 0.3% decline (-1.3% y/y) in nonauto consumer goods prices, after a 0.1% January slip, and a 0.2% fall (+0.1% y/y) in motor vehicles & parts prices.

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, %) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Imports - All Commodities 0.9 0.4 0.1 -1.1 -1.1 0.3 10.9
  Petroleum 4.4 0.6 -0.2 -2.6 -2.6 -0.3 36.5
  Nonpetroleum 0.2 0.4 0.2 -0.6 -0.6 0.3 4.5
Exports - All Commodities 0.6 0.2 0.4 -1.3 -0.4 0.4 8.1
  Agricultural 1.7 -0.4 0.3 -6.0 1.7 2.4 22.3
  Nonagricultural 0.6 0.2 0.4 -0.7 -0.7 0.1 6.6
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