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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Strengthen Along With Higher Petroleum Prices; Export Prices Firm
by Tom Moeller  November 15, 2018

Import prices increased 0.5% (3.5% y/y) during October following a 0.2% September rise, revised from 0.5%. A 0.1% uptick had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Strength in import prices last month was led by 2.8% increase (31.4% y/y) in petroleum prices following a 0.9% gain, revised from 4.1%. Nonpetroleum import prices improved 0.2% (0.8% y/y) following stability in September. Industrial supplies & materials costs rose 1.5% (14.2% y/y) following a 0.1% rise. Industrial materials prices excluding petroleum recovered 0.5% (3.8% y/y) after falling for three months. Capital goods prices eased 0.1% (-0.2% y/y) following the prior month's stability. Motor vehicle & parts prices gained 0.1% (0.2% y/y) after holding steady for three straight months. Nonauto consumer goods prices eased 0.1% (+0.7% y/y) following no change for two consecutive months.

Export prices rose 0.4% (3.1% y/y) in October after holding steady in September, which was unrevised. A 0.1% rise in prices had been expected.

Agricultural commodities prices fell 0.3% last month (-4.5% y/y) after declining 1.3% in September. Nonagricultural costs improved 0.5% (3.9% y/y) in October and added to the 0.2% September rise. Foods, feeds & beverage prices were little-changed (-4.6% y/y) following a 1.4% decline. The cost of industrial supplies & materials gained 1.4% (9.4% y/y) after falling in two of the prior three months. Excluding fuels & building materials, these prices rose 0.3% (3.7% y/y). Capital goods prices held steady (1.5% y/y) for the second straight month. Motor vehicle & parts prices improved 0.1% (0.8% y/y), for a second consecutive month. Nonauto consumer goods prices eased 0.2% (+0.4% y/y) after easing 0.1% for two straight months.

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 2017 2016 2015
Imports - All Commodities 0.5 0.2 -0.4 3.5 2.9 -3.3 -10.2
  Petroleum & Petroleum Products 2.8 0.9 -2.1 31.4 26.6 -19.7 -46.0
  Nonpetroleum 0.2 0.0 -0.2 0.8 1.1 -1.5 -2.8
Exports - All Commodities 0.4 0.0 -0.1 3.1 2.4 -3.2 -6.3
  Agricultural -0.3 -1.3 0.3 -4.5 1.5 -5.4 -13.3
  Nonagricultural 0.5 0.2 -0.2 3.9 2.5 -3.0 -5.5
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