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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Price Decline Led by Lower Oil Prices
by Tom Moeller  May 13, 2014

Import prices declined 0.4% during April and reversed a revised 0.4% March rise, last month reported as 0.6%. A 0.4% increase had been expected in the Action Economics survey. A 0.7% drop (+0.1% y/y) in petroleum prices led the decline in overall import costs. That was accompanied by a 0.2% dip (-0.3% y/y) in nonoil prices which had been rising steadily since October.

Last month's decline in nonpetroleum import prices overall reflected a 1.6% drop (-1.6% y/y) in nonoil industrial materials costs as well as a 0.7% drop (+4.2% y/y in foods, feeds & beverages prices. Elsewhere, prices firmed. Automotive prices gained 0.2% (-1.0% y/y) as did nonauto consumer goods prices (0.2% y/y). Capital goods prices inched 0.1% higher (-0.4% y/y).

U.S. export prices declined 1.0% last month (+0.1 y/y) and reversed the prior month's increase. A 0.3% price increase had been expected. A 1.4% rise (2.1% y/y) in agricultural export costs was offset by a 1.2% decline (-0.1% y/y) in nonagricultural prices.

Export prices excluding petroleum and foods ticked 0.1% higher (-0.4% y/y). Nonauto consumer goods prices increased 0.3% (-0.3% y/y) and reversed March's recovery. Motor vehicles & parts prices also rose 0.3% (0.4% y/y) and capital goods prices gained  0.1% (0.7% y/y), the weakest gain in three months.

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, %) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Imports - All Commodities -0.4 0.4 1.1 -0.3 -1.1 0.3 10.9
  Petroleum -0.7 0.1 5.3 0.1 -2.6 -0.3 36.5
  Nonpetroleum -0.2 0.4 0.2 -0.3 -0.6 0.3 4.5
Exports - All Commodities -1.0 1.0 0.8 0.1 -0.4 0.4 8.1
  Agricultural 1.4 2.8 1.4 2.1 1.7 2.4 22.3
  Nonagricultural -1.2 0.8 0.6 -0.1 -0.7 0.1 6.6
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