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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Price Decline Led by Cheaper Oil
by Tom Moeller  December 10, 2015

Import prices declined 0.4% during November following a 0.3% October drop, revised from -0.5%. A 0.7% fall had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Petroleum prices fell 2.5% (-44.5% y/y) after a 0.4% rise, revised from a 2.1% decline. Nonpetroleum import prices fell 0.3% (-3.4% y/y) after an unrevised 0.4% decline. These prices have not risen m/m since March of last year. A 1.0% decline (-11.2% y/y) in prices of nonoil supplies & materials led the way lower followed by a 0.5% drop (-5.0% y/y) in food & beverage costs. Capital goods prices eased 0.1% (-2.3% y/y) as did prices for automotive vehicles & sparts. Nonauto consumer goods prices remained unchanged (-0.7% y/y) for a second straight month.

Export prices fell 0.6% (-6.3% y/y) following an unrevised 0.2% decline. Expectations had been for a 0.2% shortfall. A 1.6% decline (-15.0% y/y) in industrial supplies & materials prices led the way lower. This drop reflected lower fuels & building materials costs, without which prices fell 0.4% (-8.4% y/y). Foods, feeds & beverages prices were off 0.9% (-13.0% y/y) and capital goods costs eased 0.1% (-0.2% y/y). Automotive vehicles & parts prices fell 0.2% (-0.5% y/y), but nonauto consumer goods prices improved 0.1% (-2.1% y/y).

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, %) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Imports - All Commodities -0.4 -0.3 -1.1 -9.4 -1.1 -1.1 0.3
  Petroleum -2.5 0.4 -9.4 -44.5 -5.6 -2.6 -0.3
  Nonpetroleum -0.3 -0.4 -0.2 -3.4 0.1 -0.6 0.3
Exports - All Commodities -0.6 -0.2 -0.6 -6.3 -0.5 -0.4 0.4
  Agricultural -1.1 0.1 -1.4 -12.8 -2.7 1.6 2.4
  Nonagricultural -0.6 -0.3 -0.5 -5.7 -0.3 -0.7 0.1
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