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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import and Export Prices Tick Higher
by Tom Moeller  June 12, 2014

Import prices nudged up 0.1% during May (0.4% y/y) following a 0.5% April decline, last month reported as -0.4%. A 0.2% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. A 1.1% rise (3.0% y/y) in petroleum prices provided the strength to overall import costs. That was accompanied by a 0.1% dip (-0.2% y/y) in nonoil prices, down for the second consecutive month.

Last month's slip in nonpetroleum import prices reflected a 0.9% decline (-1.9% y/y) in nonoil industrial materials costs as well as a 0.8% drop (+2.9% y/y in foods, feeds & beverages prices. Elsewhere, prices firmed. Capital goods prices rose 0.2% (-0.3% y/y) and nonauto consumer goods prices edged 0.1% higher (0.7% y/y). Automotive prices were unchanged (-0.7% y/y).

U.S. export prices ticked 0.1% higher (0.5% y/y) in May after the prior month's 1.0% decline. No change in prices had been expected. A 0.5% rise (1.8% y/y) in agricultural export costs provided all the strength to the total last month. Nonagricultural prices gained 0.1% (0.5% y/y).

Export prices excluding petroleum and foods were unchanged (0.1% y/y). Nonauto consumer goods prices also were unchanged (-0.2% y/y) after two months of 0.3% increase. Apparel prices gained 0.9% (2.6% y/y). Motor vehicles & parts prices were stable (0.4% y/y) and capital goods prices gained 0.1% (0.8% y/y), repeating the April uptick.

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, %) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Imports - All Commodities 0.1 -0.5 0.4 0.4 -1.1 0.3 10.9
  Petroleum 1.1 -1.2 0.6 3.0 -2.6 -0.3 36.5
  Nonpetroleum -0.1 -0.4 0.4 -0.2 -0.6 0.3 4.5
Exports - All Commodities 0.1 -1.0 0.9 0.5 -0.4 0.4 8.1
  Agricultural 0.5 1.5 2.8 1.6 1.7 2.4 22.3
  Nonagricultural 0.1 -1.4 0.8 0.5 -0.7 0.1 6.6
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