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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Moderate; Export Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  August 13, 2021

• Import prices held back by stable nonfuel costs.

• Fuel prices continue to surge.

• Export prices strengthen.

Import prices rose 0.3% in July (10.2% y/y) following a 1.1% June increase, revised from 1.0%. It was the smallest increase since November 2020. The Action Economics Forecast survey expected a 0.6% rise. Export prices strengthened 1.3% last month (17.2% y/y) after gaining an unrevised 1.2% in June. A 0.8% rise had been expected.

The price index for imported fuels rose 2.9% in July (66.5% y/y) after increasing 5.5% in June. Nonfuel import prices held steady (6.3% y/y) after a 0.7% rise. Foods, feeds, and beverage prices rose 0.3% (9.6% y/y) following a 1.9% jump. Automotive vehicle, parts & engine import prices rose 0.4% (1.9% y/y) after rising 0.2% in each of the prior three months. Nonauto consumer goods prices edged 0.1% higher (1.0% y/y) after two straight months of 0.3% increase while capital goods costs gained 0.4% (2.0% y/y), the same as in June.

The 1.3% rise in export prices in July was led by a 1.6% gain in nonagricultural prices. Prices for agricultural exports fell 1.7% (+29.2% y/y) and reversed a 1.5% June increase. Industrial supplies and materials prices rose 3.2% (42.3% y/y), driven by higher fuel prices. Capital goods prices rose 0.5% (2.1% y/y) after a 0.4% increase. Auto export prices improved rose 0.4% (1.7% y/y) following a 0.2% gain while nonauto consumer goods prices rose held steady (3.0% y/y) following a 0.9% strengthening.

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, %) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Imports - All Commodities 0.3 1.1 1.3 10.2 -2.5 -1.3 3.1
  Fuels 2.9 5.5 5.2 66.5 -27.8 -2.1 20.8
  Nonfuels 0.0 0.7 0.9 6.3 0.3 -1.1 1.3
Exports - All Commodities 1.3 1.2 2.3 17.2 -2.8 -0.9 3.4
  Agricultural -1.7 1.5 6.1 29.2 -0.3 -0.4 0.6
  Nonagricultural 1.6 1.1 1.8 15.8 -3.0 -0.9 3.7
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