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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Edge Higher During November; Export Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  December 15, 2020

• Oil prices increase firmly as nonpetroleum prices hold steady.

• Export price strength led by higher agricultural costs.

Import prices improved 0.1% (-1.0% y/y) during November following an unrevised 0.1% October slip. A 0.3% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last three months, import prices have risen 0.7% (AR). These figures are not seasonally adjusted and do not include import duties.

Petroleum & petroleum product import prices rose 2.1% last month (-27.0% y/y), after easing 0.1% in October, revised a 1.0% decline. September's figure also was revised to -6.1% from -6.8%. Nonpetroleum import prices were stable (1.6% y/y) after easing 0.1%, revised from unchanged. They rose 2.1% (AR) during the last three months after declining 1.8% in the second quarter.

Prices of industrial materials imports excluding petroleum rose 0.9% (6.8% y/y) after easing 0.1%. Foods, feeds & beverages prices fell 2.2% (+0.2% y/y) after gaining 0.1%. Capital goods prices improved 0.1% (1.3 y/y) after holding steady. Capital goods prices excluding computers rose 0.2% (1.7% y/y) the same as in September. Prices of computers & peripherals decreased 0.2% both m/m and y/y following two months of 0.4% decline. Nonauto consumer goods prices held steady (0.2% y/y) after easing 0.1%. Autos, parts & engine prices edged 0.1% lower (+1.0% y/y) for a second consecutive month.

Export prices strengthened 0.6% (-1.1% y/y) after an unrevised gain of 0.2% in October. A 0.3% increase had been expected in the Action Economics survey. Export prices rose 5.7% (AR) during the last three months.

Agricultural commodities export prices strengthened 3.7% (4.4% y/y), after gaining 3.4%. Nonagricultural export prices improved 0.3% (-1.7% y/y, following a 0.1% dip. Foods, feeds & beverage costs gained 3.7% (4.4% y/y), after rising 3.4%. Industrial materials prices jumped 1.3% (-5.3% y/y), after a 0.3% decline. Prices of exports of nonauto consumer goods fell 0.8% (-0.6% y/y), after rising 0.1% while automotive vehicles, parts and engines were up 0.2% (0.4% y/y) in November following a 0.3% improvement. Capital goods export prices edged 0.2% lower (+0.7% 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, %) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2019 2018 2017
Imports - All Commodities 0.1 -0.1 0.2 -1.0 -1.3 3.1 2.9
  Petroleum & Petroleum Products 2.1 -0.1 -6.1 -27.0 -2.6 22.0 25.6
  Nonpetroleum 0.0 -0.1 0.6 1.6 -1.1 1.3 1.1
Exports - All Commodities 0.6 0.2 0.6 -1.1 -0.9 3.4 2.4
  Agricultural 3.7 3.4 2.7 4.4 -0.4 0.6 1.5
  Nonagricultural 0.3 -0.1 0.3 -1.7 -0.9 3.7 2.5
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