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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import and Export Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  June 13, 2019

Import prices fell 0.3% (-1.5% y/y) during May following a 0.1% April improvement, revised from 0.2%. The decline matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted and do not include import duties.

The weakening in import prices last month reflected a 0.9% decline (-1.9% y/y) in petroleum import costs, following a 4.7% April rise. Nonpetroleum import prices eased 0.3% (-1.4% y/y), the third consecutive month of weakness. Among end-use categories, industrial supplies & materials costs excluding petroleum fell 1.1% (-4.1% y/y) after a 2.8% decline. Capital goods prices eased 0.1% (-1.3% y/y) and have been declining since early last year. The decline reflects lower prices (-4.7% y/y) for computers, peripherals and semiconductors. Capital goods prices excluding these products were little changed y/y. Motor vehicle & parts prices edged 0.1% lower (-0.6% y/y) for the fourth straight month. Nonauto consumer goods prices held steady (-0.7% y/y) after falling 0.3% for two straight months. Meanwhile, foods, feed and beverage prices fell 0.8% (-0.2% y/y) following a 2.7% strengthening.

Export prices declined 0.2% last month (-0.7% y/y) following a 0.1% uptick during April revised from 0.1%. A 0.1% easing had been expected.

Agricultural commodities prices dropped 1.0% last month (-5.3% y/y), adding to the 1.5% decline in April. Nonagricultural export costs slipped 0.2% (-0.2% y/y) after three consecutive monthly increases. The cost of industrial supplies & materials fell 0.5% (-2.3% y/y) with lower petroleum prices. Prices excluding oil fell 0.3% (-1.8% y/y) after a 0.1% rise (-1.8% y/y). Motor vehicle & parts prices eased 0.1% (+0.4% y/y) after a 0.2% rise. Consumer goods prices excluding autos slipped 0.2% (+0.2% y/y) after a 0.3% gain. Capital goods improved 0.1% (1.1% y/y) but high-tech product prices fell 3.3% y/y. Capital goods prices excluding high-tech rose 0.2% (2.0% y/y). Meanwhile, foods, feeds & beverage prices fell 1.1% (-4.4% y/y) after declining 1.8%.

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, %) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Imports - All Commodities -0.3 0.1 0.6 -1.5 3.1 2.9 -3.3
  Petroleum & Petroleum Products -0.9 4.7 6.2 -1.9 22.0 26.6 -19.7
  Nonpetroleum -0.3 -0.5 0.0 -1.4 1.3 1.1 -1.5
Exports - All Commodities -0.2 0.1 0.8 -0.7 3.4 2.4 -3.2
  Agricultural -1.0 -1.5 1.0 -5.3 0.6 1.5 -5.4
  Nonagricultural -0.2 0.2 0.7 -0.2 3.7 2.5 -3.0

 

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