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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  October 10, 2014

Import prices fell 0.5% (-0.9% y/y) during September, after a 0.6% August drop, earlier reported as -0.9%. The decline matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. A 2.0% fall (-6.6% y/y) in petroleum prices led the decline in import costs. That was accompanied by a 0.2% slip (+0.7% y/y) in nonoil prices.

Last month's drop in nonoil import prices reflected a 0.4% shortfall (+2.0% y/y) in nonoil industrial supplies prices, the fifth decline in the last six months. Motor vehicle & parts prices slipped 0.1% (-0.7% y/y) while nonauto consumer goods priced were unchanged (0.9%), as they have been during the last five months. Capital goods prices also were unchanged (0.2% y/y) for the third straight month but prices for foods, feeds & beverages gained 0.2% (2.9% y/y).

Export prices fell 0.2% (-0.2% y/y) after a 0.5% decline. No change had been expected. A 2.7% drop (-1.7% y/y) in foods, feeds & beverage prices was the fourth consecutive month of decline. Industrial materials prices fell 0.5% (-1.5% y/y) as petroleum & product prices slipped 0.2% (-5.5% y/y). That added to a 2.8% August decline. Nonauto consumer goods prices were off 0.2% (+0.6% y/y) while motor vehicle & parts prices slipped 0.1% (+0.5% y/y). Capital goods prices ticked 0.1% higher (0.8% y/y) following no change during August.

What Predicts U.S. Recessions? from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is available here.

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, %) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Imports - All Commodities -0.5 -0.6 -0.3 -0.9 -1.1 0.3 10.9
  Petroleum -2.0 -2.8 -1.5 -6.6 -2.6 -0.3 36.5
  Nonpetroleum -0.2 0.0 0.0 0.7 -0.6 0.3 4.5
Exports - All Commodities -0.2 -0.5 0.1 -0.2 -0.4 0.4 8.1
  Agricultural -0.9 -3.0 -1.8 -2.9 1.7 2.4 22.3
  Nonagricultural -0.2 -0.2 0.3 0.0 -0.7 0.1 6.6
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