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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Rebound as Oil Prices Surge
by Tom Moeller  January 12, 2017

Import prices increased 0.4% (1.8% y/y) during December following a 0.2% November decline, revised from -0.3%. A 0.7% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During all of last year, prices declined 3.4%, the fourth consecutive year of decline. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Petroleum import prices led the increase in the overall price index with a 7.9% jump (26.2% y/y), following a 3.0% decline. During all of last year, prices fell 19.8%, the fifth consecutive year of decline. Nonpetroleum import prices eased 0.2% (0.0% y/y) following no change. During all of last year, prices fell 1.6%, down for the second straight year. Prices for non-oil industrial supplies & materials increased 0.6% (2.9% y/y) after a 0.4% rise. Foods, feeds & beverage costs moved 1.4% lower (+4.1% y/y), and reversed the prior month's increase. Motor vehicle & parts prices eased 0.1% for the second straight month (0.0% y/y). Nonauto consumer goods prices declined 0.3% (-1.0% y/y) for the second consecutive month. Capital goods prices declined 0.2% (-1.4% y/y), down for the third straight month. They've fall 5.0% during the last four years. Capital goods prices excluding computers, peripherals & semiconductors eased 0.1% (-0.9% y/y) for the third straight month.

Export prices increased 0.3% (1.1% y/y) following an unrevised 0.1% slip. Zero change in prices had been expected. During all of last year, prices declined 3.2% and have fallen for four straight years.

Agricultural commodity prices fell 0.3% (-0.5% y/y) after a 0.6% rise. During all of last year, these prices fell 5.4%, the third consecutive down year. Nonagricultural goods costs improved 0.4% (1.3% y/y) after a 0.1% slip. In 2016, these prices fell 3.0%, a fourth year of decline. Foods, feeds & beverage prices fell 0.6% (-0.6% y/y), and reversed the November increase. Industrial supplies & materials jumped 2.0% (6.0% y/y) following a 0.3% easing. Motor vehicle & parts prices were off 0.2% (-0.8% y/y), while nonauto consumer goods prices declined 1.0% (-2.5% y/y), down for the fourth month in five. Capital goods prices remained steady (-0.2% y/y) for the third month in four.

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, %) Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Imports - All Commodities 0.4 -0.2 0.4 1.8 -3.4 -10.2 -1.1
  Petroleum 7.9 -3.0 7.5 26.2 -19.8 -46.0 -5.6
  Nonpetroleum -0.2 0.0 -0.2 0.0 -1.6 -2.8 0.1
Exports - All Commodities 0.3 -0.1 0.2 1.1 -3.2 -6.3 -0.5
  Agricultural -0.3 0.6 0.5 -0.5 -5.4 -13.3 -2.7
  Nonagricultural 0.4 -0.1 0.2 1.3 -3.0 -5.5 -0.3
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