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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import and Export Prices Fall in July; Deepest Since April 2020
by Winnie Tapasanun  August 12, 2022

• Import prices drop 1.4% w/ imported fuel prices down 7.5%.

• Excluding fuels, import prices decline 0.5%, down for the third straight month.

• Export prices fall 3.3% w/ ag export prices down 3.0% and nonag export prices down 3.3%.

• Year-over-year import and export price growth rates decelerate in July vs. June; import prices 8.8% vs. 10.7% and export prices 13.1% vs. 18.1%, their lowest since March 2021.

Import prices fell 1.4% m/m in July after an upwardly revised 0.3% increase in June (+0.2% initially) and an unrevised 0.5% gain in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The July reading was the first monthly fall since December and the deepest since April 2020's 2.6% drop. The y/y rate eased to 8.8%, the lowest since March 2021, from June's 10.7%. Export prices slid 3.3% after an unrevised 0.7% June increase and a downwardly revised 2.7% May rise (+2.9% previously). The July m/m slide in export prices was the first since December and the biggest since April 2020's 3.5% decrease. The y/y rate decelerated to 13.1%, the lowest since March 2021, from June's 18.1%. The Action Economics Forecast survey had expected m/m declines of 1.0% in import prices and 0.9% in export prices in July.

The fall in import prices in July was led by a 7.5% drop (+56.6% y/y) in imported fuel prices following an upwardly revised 6.2% June gain (+5.7% initially). The July m/m drop was the largest since December's 7.7% decrease. The key contributors to the drop in imported fuel costs were m/m decreases of 20.6% in natural gas (+69.8% y/y), 10.7% in crude oil (+47.8% y/y), and 6.8% in petroleum & petroleum products (+56.6% y/y). Fuel oil import prices, however, rebounded 3.8% (82.8% y/y) following a 1.1% June decline; import prices for other petroleum products rose 1.5% (74.3% y/y), the third consecutive m/m rise, on top of a 9.1% June advance. Nonfuel import prices slid 0.5% (+4.1% y/y) in July, the third successive m/m slide, after a 0.6% decline in June, due to monthly price drops of 2.6% in nonfuel industrial supplies & materials (+7.6% y/y) and 0.9% in foods, feeds & beverages (+7.0% y/y). To the upside, import prices for automotive vehicles & parts advanced 0.6% (3.7% y/y), the seventh straight m/m gain, after a 0.3% June rise. Import prices for capital goods increased 0.2% (3.7% y/y) after holding steady in June and eight straight monthly gains. Import prices for consumer goods ex autos were unchanged (+1.9% y/y) after declines of 0.4% in June and 0.1% in May.

The July slide in export prices reflected falls in both agricultural and nonagricultural export prices. Agricultural export prices slid 3.0% (+13.3% y/y) in July, the deepest monthly slide since April 2020, after a 0.1% downtick in June and eight straight m/m increases. Nonagricultural export prices fell 3.3% (+13.1% y/y), the first m/m fall since December and the largest since April 2020, after a 0.8% June rise. Industrial supplies & materials export prices dropped 6.8% (+23.4% y/y) in July versus six consecutive m/m increases. Export prices for foods, feeds & beverages fell 2.9% (+12.1% y/y) following a 0.5% June decline and eight successive m/m gains. Nonauto consumer goods export prices dipped 0.1% (+3.4% y/y), the third consecutive m/m easing, after a 0.1% June downtick. In contrast, capital goods export prices gained 0.8% (5.0% y/y) in July after holding steady in June and 17 straight monthly rises. Auto export prices rose 0.6% (4.7% y/y), the 10th successive m/m advance, on top of a 0.2% June increase.

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.

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