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Economy in Brief

Import and Export Prices Post Firm Gains
by Tom Moeller  October 17, 2017

Import prices increased 0.7% during September (2.7% y/y) following an unrevised 0.6% August increase. The September increase compared to a 0.6% rise expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Stronger petroleum import prices continued to lead the advance with a 4.5% rise (20.1% y/y) after a 5.0% gain. Nonpetroleum import prices improved 0.3% for a second straight month. These gains lifted y/y growth to 1.2%, up from -3.7% in December. Among end-use categories, industrial supplies and materials prices excluding petroleum rose 1.1% (5.7% y/y) after a 0.7% rise. Among other detail categories, prices of foods, feeds and beverages strengthened 1.8% (2.7% y/y) after a 0.2% gain. Capital goods prices edged 0.1% higher (0.3% y/y) for a third straight month. Prices of motor vehicles and parts also gained 0.1% (0.0% y/y), the same as in August. The prices of consumer goods excluding automobiles eased 0.1% (+0.2% y/y), continuing the pattern of little change in recent months.

Export prices strengthened 0.8% (2.9% y/y) in September after a 0.7% rise, revised from 0.6%. It was the strongest increase since June 2016. The Action Economics Survey expected a 0.5% gain.

The total export price increase was powered by a 1.0% improvement (3.0% y/y) in nonagricultural export prices, the strongest gain since May 2016. Agricultural export prices declined 0.7% (+2.2% y/y) after a 0.1% uptick. Among the end-use categories for exports, overall foods, feeds and beverage prices fell 0.6% (+2.6% y/y) following a 0.2% increase. Prices of industrial supplies and materials surged 3.0% (8.1% y/y) after a 1.8% rise. Petroleum and petroleum product costs jumped 7.6% (23.3% y/y). Nonagricultural supplies and materials prices excluding fuels and building materials increased 1.8% (3.4% y/y) after a 0.7% gain. Prices of motor vehicles and parts rose 0.1% (0.6% y/y) following little change during the prior seven months. Capital goods prices ticked 0.1% higher (1.2% y/y) for the fourth month in five. Prices for non-auto consumer goods held steady (-1.3% y/y) following two months of strong 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.

Import/Export Prices (NSA, %) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Imports - All Commodities 0.7 0.6 -0.1 2.7 -3.3 -10.2 -1.1
  Petroleum 4.5 5.0 -0.6 20.1 -19.7 -46.0 -5.6
  Nonpetroleum 0.3 0.3 -0.1 1.2 -1.5 -2.8 0.1
Exports - All Commodities 0.8 0.7 0.5 2.9 -3.2 -6.3 -0.5
  Agricultural -0.7 0.1 1.9 2.2 -5.4 -13.3 -2.7
  Nonagricultural 1.0 0.8 0.3 3.0 -3.0 -5.5 -0.3
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