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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Price Decline Picks Up Speed
by Tom Moeller  December 11, 2014

Import prices declined 1.5% (-2.3% y/y) during November after a 1.2% October drop, earlier reported as -1.3%. It was the largest of five straight months of decline and matched expectations for a 1.5% shortfall in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. A 6.9% fall (-12.3% y/y) in petroleum prices led the decline in import costs. That was accompanied by a 0.3 decline (+0.1% y/y) in nonoil prices. It was the largest decline in six months.

Last month's drop in nonoil import prices reflected a 1.1% shortfall (-0.4% y/y) in nonoil industrial supplies prices, also the largest decline in the last six months. Motor vehicle & parts prices slipped 0.1% (-1.0% y/y) while nonauto consumer goods prices similarly were off 0.1% (+0.6%), down for the second straight month. Capital goods prices slipped 0.1% (-0.4% y/y) for the fourth straight month. Prices for foods, feeds & beverages fell 0.4% (+3.5% y/y), down for the first time since June.

Export prices fell 1.0% (-0.8% y/y), off for a fourth straight month. A 0.4% decline had been expected. A 3.1% shortfall (-5.4% y/y) in industrial materials prices reflected an 8.9% drop (-15.4% y/y) in petroleum costs. Nonauto consumer goods prices declined 0.3% (-0.3% y/y) but motor vehicle & parts prices were unchanged (0.5% y/y). Capital goods prices slipped 0.1% (+0.4% y/y), down for the fourth month in the last five. Agricultural export prices rose 0.5% but were down 3.8% y/y. Nonagricultural export prices fell 1.2% (-1.7% y/y), off for the fourth straight month.

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.

Implications of Recent U.S. Energy Trends for Trade Forecasts from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City can be found here.

Import/Export Prices (NSA, %) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Imports - All Commodities -1.5 -1.2 -0.5 -2.3 -1.1 0.3 10.9
  Petroleum -6.9 -6.4 -2.2 -12.3 -2.6 -0.3 36.5
  Nonpetroleum -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.1 -0.6 0.3 4.5
Exports - All Commodities -1.0 -0.9 -0.5 -1.9 -0.4 0.4 8.1
  Agricultural 0.5 -2.1 -1.6 -3.8 1.6 2.4 22.3
  Nonagricultural -1.2 -0.8 -0.2 -1.7 -0.7 0.1 6.6
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