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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import and Export Prices Decline in June
by Sandy Batten  July 16, 2019

Import prices fell 0.9% (-2.0% y/y) in June following an upwardly revised unchanged reading in May (initially reported as a 0.3% m/m decline). The June decline was larger than the 0.6% m/m decline expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted and do not include import duties. Export prices also fell in June, declining 0.7% m/m (-1.6% y/y) after an unrevised 0.2% m/m decline in May. The Action Economics survey consensus had looked for only a 0.2% m/m decline.

The weakening in import prices last month mostly reflected a 6.2% drop (-7.4% y/y) in petroleum import costs, following sizable increases in each of the previous five months. Nonpetroleum import prices also fell in June but only by 0.4% m/m (-1.4% y/y). This was the third consecutive monthly decline in nonpetroleum import prices and was widely spread across end-use categories. Of note, prices of imported foods, feeds and beverages slumped 1.5% m/m while prices of imported industrial supplies declined 3.3% m/m.

The weakening of export prices in June was due solely to declines in prices of exported nonagricultural commodities, which fell 1.1% m/m (-1.6% y/y). This decline was concentrated in prices of exported industrial supplies, which slumped 3.0% m/m. In contrast, prices of exported food, feeds beverages jumped up 3.0% m/m. Prices in all other major end-use categories only edged up in June from May. Prices of exported agricultural commodities rose 2.7% m/m (-1.9% y/y) in June but not enough to offset the fall in nonagricultural prices. This was led by a 13.5% m/m surge in corn prices and a 5.0% m/m jump in soybean prices.

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, %) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Imports - All Commodities -0.9 0.0 0.2 -2.0 3.1 2.9 -3.3
  Petroleum & Petroleum Products -6.2 2.4 4.6 -7.4 22.0 26.6 -19.7
  Nonpetroleum -0.4 -0.3 -0.5 -1.4 1.3 1.1 -1.5
Exports - All Commodities -0.7 -0.2 0.1 -1.6 3.4 2.4 -3.2
  Agricultural 2.7 -1.1 -1.5 -1.9 0.6 1.5 -5.4
  Nonagricultural -1.1 -0.2 0.2 -1.6 3.7 2.5 -3.0
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