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Economy in Brief

Import Prices Fall With Decline In Oil Prices
by Tom Moeller   October 13, 2010

A back-slide in oil prices lowered U.S. import prices during September. The 0.3% overall decline reversed half of the 0.6% August increase and left prices up 3.5% y/y. Consensus expectations had been for a 0.2% decline during last month. A 3.1% decline (+5.5% y/y) in petroleum prices accompanied a 0.3% increase (2.9% y/y) in nonoil prices after a 0.2% August gain.

With the latest increase, energy prices have fallen 0.9% since December after last year's 78.6% rise from December-to-December. So far this month, Brent crude oil prices have risen 6.5% from last month to $84.00 per barrel compared to $78.88 in September. Non-oil import prices rose 0.3% during September and were up 1.2% since year-end. (The y/y change in non-oil import prices during the last ten years has had a negative 81% correlation with the nominal trade-weighted exchange value of the US dollar vs. major currencies.)

Imported food & beverage prices rose 9.2% y/y and that compared to a 2.8% decline during 2009. Also, prices for non-auto consumer goods rose 0.3% y/y. Appliance prices rose 0.1% y/y) following a 0.8% gain in 2009. Furniture prices fell 3.2% y/y and home entertainment equipment prices were off another 5.5%. Imported auto prices rose 0.6% y/y after a 0.4% increase last year and capital goods ticked down 0.3% y/y. Computer & peripherals prices fell 3.5% from last September while excluding computers, capital goods prices rose 0.8% y/y after the 0.7% rise last year.

Total export prices rose 0.6% last month and pulled prices up 5.0% y/y. The gain reflected a 2.4% gain (12.1% y/y) in agricultural export prices after a 12.8% decline last year. Non-agricultural goods prices rose 0.3% (4.3% y/y) after a 3.7% decline in 2008.

The import and export price series can be found in Haver's USECON database. Detailed figures are available in the USINT database.

Inflation Measure, Taylor Rules, and the Greenspan-Bernanke Years from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is available here.

Import/Export Prices (NSA, %) September August July Sept. Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Import - All Commodities -0.3 0.6 0.0 3.5 -11.5 11.5 4.2
  Petroleum -3.1 2.0 0.9 5.8 -35.9 37.7 11.6
  Nonpetroleum 0.3 0.2 -0.2 2.9 -4.1 5.3 2.7
Export - All Commodities 0.6 0.8 -0.1 5.0 -4.6 6.0 4.9
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