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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import and Export Prices Weaken
by Tom Moeller  September 14, 2018

Import prices declined 0.6% (+3.7% y/y) during August following a 0.1% easing in July, revised from unchanged. A 0.2% decline had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Weakness in import prices last month was led by a 3.9% decline (+33.0% y/y) in petroleum prices. Nonpetroleum import prices slipped 0.2% (+1.0% y/y) for a second straight month. Industrial supplies & materials costs fell 2.2% (+16.1% y/y) after a 0.1% easing. Prices excluding petroleum fell 1.0% (+6.0% y/y) after a 0.7% fall. Capital goods prices slipped 0.1% (+0.1% y/y) following no change. Motor vehicle & parts prices held steady (0.2% y/y) for the second straight month. Nonauto consumer goods prices also were stable (0.6% y/y) following a 0.3% gain.

Export prices eased 0.1% (+3.6% y/y) following a 0.5% decline. No change in prices had been expected.

Agricultural commodities prices improved 0.2% (-1.7% y/y) after falling 5.2%. Nonagricultural costs eased 0.2% (+4.1% y/y) following no change in July. Foods, feeds & beverage prices rose 0.6% (-1.7% y/y) following a 4.8% decline. The cost of industrial supplies & materials fell 0.6% (+9.4% y/y) after a 0.4% drop. Capital goods prices gained 0.2% (-1.9% y/y) after a 0.1% uptick. Motor vehicle & parts prices slipped 0.1% (+0.5% y/y) for a third straight month while nonauto consumer goods prices also eased 0.1% (+0.5% y/y) following no change.  

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, %) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Imports - All Commodities -0.6 -0.1 0.1 3.7 2.9 -3.3 -10.2
  Petroleum & Petroleum Products -3.9 0.7 2.8 33.0 26.6 -19.7 -46.0
  Nonpetroleum -0.2 -0.2 -0.3 1.0 1.1 -1.5 -2.8
Exports - All Commodities -0.1 -0.5 0.2 3.6 2.4 -3.2 -6.3
  Agricultural 0.2 -5.2 -1.0 -1.7 1.5 -5.4 -13.3
  Nonagricultural -0.2 0.0 0.4 4.1 2.5 -3.0 -5.5
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