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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import & Export Prices Continue to Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  February 10, 2017

Import prices increased 0.4% (3.7% y/y) during January after a 0.5% December rise, revised from 0.4%. A 0.3% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Petroleum import prices provided strength to the overall import price index with a 5.2% jump following a 6.8% increase. Prices have increased by roughly two-thirds y/y. Nonpetroleum import prices remained steady m/m, but the change versus last year improved to 0.3% after declines in three of the last four years. Foods, feeds & beverage prices fell 1.3% last month (+2.0% y/y), following declines in two of the three prior months. Motor vehicle & parts costs fell 0.5%, though prices were little changed y/y. Capital goods prices eased 0.1%. The 1.1% y/y decline is less than recorded in 2015 and 2016. Nonauto consumer goods prices also slipped 0.1% while the y/y decline accelerated to -0.9%. Industrial supplies & materials prices excluding petroleum jumped 1.3% (5.4% y/y).

Export prices improved 0.1% following a 0.4% rise. The y/y increase of 2.3% follows sharp declines in the last two years.

Agricultural commodity prices eased 0.1%, but the y/y change turned positive for the first time since 2014. Nonagricultural export prices improved 0.1% last month. Prices increased 2.4 y/y after declines dating back to 2012. Foods, feeds & beverage prices increased 0.6% (1.6% y/y). Industrial supplies & materials costs jumped 0.5% (9.2% y/y) as petroleum prices strengthened 34.2% y/y. Nonagricultural supplies & materials prices excluding fuels & building materials rose 0.1% m/m (2.5% y/y) after sharp declines in dating back to 2012. Capital goods prices eased 0.1% (-0.2% y/y) as computer & peripheral product prices declined 3.1% y/y. Motor vehicle & parts prices strengthened 0.4% (-0.4% y/y). Nonauto consumer goods prices fell 1.0% and the y/y decline intensified to -2.6%.

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, %) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Imports - All Commodities 0.4 0.5 -0.1 3.7 -3.3 -10.2 -1.1
  Petroleum 5.2 6.8 -1.7 60.9 -19.7 -46.0 -5.6
  Nonpetroleum 0.0 -0.1 0.0 0.3 -1.5 -2.8 0.1
Exports - All Commodities 0.1 0.4 0.1 2.3 -3.2 -6.3 -0.5
  Agricultural -0.1 -0.2 0.7 0.8 -5.4 -13.3 -2.7
  Nonagricultural 0.1 0.4 0.0 2.4 -3.0 -5.5 -0.3
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