Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Jun 14 2024

U.S. Import & Export Prices Unexpectedly Decline in May

  • Import price drop follows four straight months of increase.
  • Excluding fuels, import prices fall after six monthly gains.
  • Export price weakness reverses April strength.

Import prices for all goods fell 0.4% (NSA) in May after an unrevised 0.9% April gain and an unrevised 0.6% March increase, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 0.1% May rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The 1.1% y/y increase followed price declines throughout 2023, the weakest of which was a 6.1% y/y fall last June.

Export prices fell 0.6% last month after a 0.6% April increase, revised from 0.5% and an unrevised 0.1% April uptick. An unchanged level of export prices had been expected. These changes lifted prices by 0.6% y/y, the strongest increase since January 2023 and compared to an 11.8% y/y drop in June of last year.

The monthly shortfall in May import prices was led by a 1.7% decline (+9.8% y/y) in imported petroleum & product prices after they surged 4.6% in April. The increase in imported petroleum costs was accompanied by a 19.5% decline in natural gas prices (-39.3% y/y). Nonfuel import prices weakened 0.3% (+0.5% y/y) after a 0.7% April increase. Import prices for foods, feeds & beverages declined 1.6% (+5.6% y/y) after four consecutive monthly increases. Motor vehicle & parts prices eased 0.1% (+2.3% y/y) after a 0.4% rise. Capital goods prices slipped 0.1% (-0.2% y/y) after a 0.1% improvement while nonauto consumer goods prices eased 0.2% (unchanged y/y), off for the third straight month.

The decline in May export prices included a 0.5% rise (-6.6% y/y) in agricultural export prices which followed a 0.4% April drop. Nonagricultural export prices declined 0.8% (+1.5% y/y) after four straight monthly gains. Export prices of industrial supplies & materials weakened 2.0% (+1.3% y/y) after four straight monthly gains. Automotive vehicles & parts export prices held steady (+4.0% y/y) after rising 0.8% in April. Capital goods prices edged 0.1% higher (2.0% y/y) after a 0.5% rise. A 0.1% uptick (-1.3% y/y) in nonauto consumer goods prices followed the same change in April. Foods, feeds & beverage prices rose 0.9% last month (-6.6% y/y) after easing 0.2% one month earlier.

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.

  • Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio.   Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984.   He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C.   In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists.   Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.

    More in Author Profile »

More Economy in Brief