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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Continue Lower With Oil Costs
by Tom Moeller  November 14, 2014

Import prices declined 1.3% (-1.8% y/y) during October after a 0.6% September drop, earlier reported as -0.5%. It was the fourth straight month of decline and matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. A 6.9% fall (-11.1% y/y) in petroleum prices led the decline in import costs. That was accompanied by a third straight 0.1% slip (+0.5% y/y) in nonoil prices.

Last month's drop in nonoil import prices reflected a 0.5% shortfall (+1.0% y/y) in nonoil industrial supplies prices, the sixth decline in the last seven months. Motor vehicle & parts prices were unchanged (-0.7% y/y) while nonauto consumer goods prices fell 0.2% (+0.7%), following two months of being unchanged. Capital goods prices slipped 0.1% (-0.1% y/y), down or unchanged for four straight months. Prices for foods, feeds & beverages continued strong and rose 1.4% (3.7% y/y).

Export prices fell 1.0% (-0.8% y/y), off for a third straight month. A 0.4% decline had been expected. The 2.1% drop (-3.4% y/y) in foods, feeds & beverage prices was the fifth consecutive month of decline. Industrial materials prices fell 1.9% (-2.3% y/y) as petroleum & product prices declined 5.4% (-5.6% y/y), off 13.8% during the last seven months. Nonauto consumer goods prices were off 1.9% (-2.3% y/y) but motor vehicle & parts prices edged 0.2% higher (0.5% y/y). Capital goods prices moved 0.2% lower (+0.6% y/y), off for the third month in the last four.

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, %) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Imports - All Commodities -1.3 -0.6 -0.8 -1.8 -1.1 0.3 10.9
  Petroleum -6.9 -2.6 -3.6 -11.1 -2.6 -0.3 36.5
  Nonpetroleum -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 0.5 -0.6 0.3 4.5
Exports - All Commodities -1.0 -0.4 -0.5 -0.8 -0.4 0.4 8.1
  Agricultural -2.1 -1.7 -3.1 -4.6 1.7 2.4 22.3
  Nonagricultural -0.9 -0.2 -0.2 -0.4 -0.7 0.1 6.6
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