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Economy in Brief

Import Price Increase Is Led by Petroleum; Export Costs Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  September 19, 2017

Import prices increased 0.6% during August (2.1% y/y) following slight declines in four of the prior five months. The August increase compared to a 0.3% rise expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Petroleum import prices jumped 4.8% m/m (15.8% y/y) after five consecutive months of decline. Nonpetroleum import prices improved 0.3% (1.0% y/y). Among end-use categories, industrial supplies and materials prices excluding petroleum rose 0.7% (4.1% y/y) after falling for three straight months. Among other detail categories, prices of foods, feeds and beverages rose 0.3% (1.4% y/y) after a 0.1% dip. Capital goods prices edged 0.1% higher (0.3% y/y) for a second straight month. Prices of motor vehicles and parts improved 0.2% (0.1% y/y) following two months of decline. The prices of consumer goods excluding automobiles gained 0.1% (0.4% y/y) on the heels of two months of stability.

Export prices increased 0.6% (2.3% y/y) in August, the strongest gain since June 2016. The Action Economics Survey expected a modest 0.2% rise.

The total export price increase was powered by a 0.7% improvement (2.4% y/y) in nonagricultural export prices, the strongest gain since May 2016. Agricultural export prices ticked 0.1% higher (1.9% y/y) after a 1.9% jump. Among the end-use categories for exports, overall foods, feeds and beverage prices rose 0.1% (2.4% y/y) following a 2.3% strengthening. Prices of industrial supplies and materials were up 1.6% (6.1% y/y) after a 0.6% rise. Nonagricultural supplies and materials prices excluding fuels and building materials increased 0.7% (1.4% y/y) after a 0.3% gain. Prices of motor vehicles and parts rose 0.2% (0.7% y/y) following little change during the prior six months. Capital goods prices rose 0.2% (1.1% y/y) after three straight months  0.1% improvement. Non-auto consumer goods prices rose 0.2% (-1.1% y/y) and have risen in each month since January.

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, %) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Imports - All Commodities 0.6 -0.1 -0.2 2.1 -3.3 -10.2 -1.1
  Petroleum 4.8 -0.4 -3.9 15.8 -19.7 -46.0 -5.6
  Nonpetroleum 0.3 -0.1 0.1 1.0 -1.5 -2.8 0.1
Exports - All Commodities 0.6 0.5 -0.1 2.3 -3.2 -6.3 -0.5
  Agricultural 0.1 1.9 -1.4 1.9 -5.4 -13.3 -2.7
  Nonagricultural 0.7 0.3 0.0 2.4 -3.0 -5.5 -0.3
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