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Economy in Brief

U.S. Import Prices Ease With Lower Oil Costs
by Tom Moeller  April 12, 2017

Import prices declined 0.2% (+4.2% y/y) during March following a 0.4% February increase, revised from 0.2%. A 0.3% fall had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Petroleum import prices declined 3.6% (+52.1% y/y), the first monthly decline since November. Nonpetroleum import prices improved 0.2%. The y/y increase accelerated to 1.2%, the strongest twelve-month rise in five years. Industrial supplies & materials prices excluding petroleum strengthened 1.2% (7.8% y/y), strong for the fifth consecutive month. Nonauto consumer goods prices eased 0.2%, but the y/y decline lessened to -0.2%. Motor vehicle & parts prices remained unchanged, and they've been fairly steady for a year. Capital goods prices notched 0.1% higher (-0.6% y/y) after declining from 2013 through 2016. Capital goods prices excluding computers, peripherals & semiconductors remained steady (-0.4% y/y).

Export prices improved 0.2% (3.6% y/y) following an unrevised 0.3% gain. A 0.1% uptick had been expected.

Agricultural commodity prices jumped 0.9% (5.3% y/y) after a 1.5% increase. Nonagricultural export prices improved 0.2% last month, and the 3.3% y/y increase followed declines in each year since 2012. Foods, feeds & beverage prices strengthened 0.9% (5.3% y/y) following years of decline. Industrial supplies & materials costs gained 0.3% (11.5% y/y), as petroleum prices strengthened 39.3% y/y. Nonagricultural supplies & materials prices excluding fuels & building materials strengthened 0.8% m/m (4.2% y/y). Capital goods prices improved 0.1% (0.4% y/y), but computer & peripheral product prices declined 2.6% y/y. Motor vehicle & parts prices held steady for the second straight months and were unchanged y/y. Nonauto consumer goods prices increased 0.3%, but the y/y decline held fairly steady at -2.2%.

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, %) Mar Feb Jan Mar Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Imports - All Commodities -0.2 0.4 0.6 4.2 -3.3 -10.2 -1.1
  Petroleum -3.6 1.3 5.7 52.1 -19.7 -46.0 -5.6
  Nonpetroleum 0.2 0.3 0.1 1.2 -1.5 -2.8 0.1
Exports - All Commodities 0.2 0.3 0.2 3.6 -3.2 -6.3 -0.5
  Agricultural 0.9 1.5 0.5 5.3 -5.4 -13.3 -2.7
  Nonagricultural 0.2 0.3 0.2 3.3 -3.0 -5.5 -0.3
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