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Economy in Brief

Import and Export Prices Fall with Commodity Prices
by Gerald D. Cohen  September 13, 2019

Import prices fell a greater-than-expected 0.5% during August (-2.0% year-on-year), following a downwardly revised 0.1% gain in July (was 0.2%). The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a 0.4% decline in August. These figures are not seasonally adjusted and do not include import duties.

The decrease in import prices last month was driven by a 4.8% drop in petroleum import costs (-9.6% y/y). Nonpetroleum import prices were unchanged for the second consecutive month (-1.0% y/y). Among end-use categories, industrial supplies & materials costs excluding petroleum, motor vehicles & parts, and nonauto consumer goods prices all edged up 0.1% (-3.3%, -0.5%, and -0.4% y/y respectively). Capital goods prices were unchanged (-1.1% y/y). Meanwhile, foods, feed and beverage prices declined 0.3% (+1.2% y/y).

Export prices fell a greater-than expected 0.6% in August (-1.4% y/y), following an unrevised 0.2% gain in July. Forecasters anticipated -0.3%. Agricultural commodities prices dropped 2.5% last month (+0.5% y/y). Nonagricultural export costs declined 0.4% (-1.6% y/y). Industrial supplies & materials decreased 1.2% (-5.8% y/y). Motor vehicle & parts prices were down 0.2% (+0.3% y/y). Capital goods and nonauto consumer goods prices were both unchanged (+0.5% and +0.7% y/y respectively). Meanwhile, nonagricultural food (ie fish) & distilled beverage prices rose 1.4% (0.5% 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, %) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Imports - All Commodities -0.5 0.1 -1.1 -2.0 3.1 2.9 -3.3
  Petroleum & Petroleum Products -4.8 0.9 -7.5 -9.6 22.0 26.6 -19.7
  Nonpetroleum 0.0 0.0 -0.4 -1.0 1.3 1.1 -1.5
Exports - All Commodities -0.6 0.2 -0.6 -1.4 3.4 2.4 -3.2
  Agricultural -2.5 0.2 2.4 0.5 0.6 1.5 -5.4
  Nonagricultural -0.4 0.2 -0.9 -1.6 3.7 2.5 -3.0
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