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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Increase as Petroleum Costs Jump
by Tom Moeller  June 11, 2015

Import prices increased 1.3% last month (-9.6% y/y) following a 0.2% April drop, revised from -0.3%. The Action Economics Forecast Survey anticipated a 0.8% rise.

Prices of petroleum imports jumped 12.7% (-40.6% y/y) following two months of moderate gain. Nonpetroleum import prices, however, were unchanged (-2.6% y/y). Industrial materials prices excluding petroleum slipped 0.1% (-8.0% y/y). Prices amongst the other end-use categories were mixed. Food, feed & beverage prices gained 0.3% (-1.4% y/y) but autos & parts prices slipped 0.1% (-2.0% y/y). Nonauto consumer goods prices were unchanged (-0.8% y/y) while capital goods prices were off 0.2% (-1.7% y/y).

Export prices also firmed. Their 0.6% increase reversed a 0.7% decline. No change had been expected. Agricultural prices fell 1.0% (-16.8% y/y) and nonagricultural costs rebounded 0.7% (-4.6% y/y). Overall industrial materials & supplies prices increased 2.2% (-12.3% y/y), reflecting a 9.9% rise (-30.0% y/y) in petroleum prices. That was offset by a 1.2% drop (-16.3% y/y) in foods, feeds & beverage prices. Prices excluding foods and fuels ticked 0.1% higher (-1.9% y/y). Capital goods export prices were off 0.1% (+0.1% y/y) and prices excluding computers & peripherals were unchanged for the third straight month (+0.8% y/y). Nonauto consumer goods prices edged 0.1% lower (-2.3% y/y) but autos & parts prices gained 0.2% (0.1% y/y).

The import and export price series can be found in Haver's USECON database. Detailed figures, including the industrial materials excluding petroleum imports and the fuel & lubricant export items mentioned above, 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 2014 2013 2012
Imports - All Commodities 1.3 -0.2 -0.2 -9.6 -1.1 -1.1 0.3
  Petroleum 12.7 1.8 2.1 -40.6 -5.6 -2.6 -0.3
  Nonpetroleum 0.0 -0.4 -0.4 -2.6 0.1 -0.6 0.3
Exports - All Commodities 0.6 -0.7 0.1 -5.9 -0.5 -0.4 0.4
  Agricultural -1.0 -0.9 -1.7 -16.8 -2.7 1.6 2.4
  Nonagricultural 0.7 -0.7 0.2 -4.6 -0.3 -0.7 0.1
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