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Economy in Brief

Petroleum Drives Gains in U.S. Import and Export Prices
by Gerald Cohen  June 14, 2018

Import prices increased 0.6% during May (4.3% year-on-year), the second consecutive monthly growth of that magnitude; April's gain was revised higher. A 0.4% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These figures are not seasonally adjusted..

A 5.9% jump in petroleum import costs (31.9% y/y) led import prices higher last month. In April these prices were up 4.4%. Nonpetroleum import prices ticked 0.1% higher for the second consecutive month (1.8% y/y). Among end-use categories, prices of foods, feeds and beverages rose 0.4% (1.6% y/y). Industrial supplies and materials prices excluding petroleum increased 0.2% (7.6% y/y). Capital goods prices edged down 0.1% (+0.9% y/y) with prices of computers, peripherals & semiconductors decreasing 0.4% (+0.8% y/y). Capital goods prices excluding computers, semiconductors & peripherals held steady (1.0% y/y). Prices of motor vehicles and parts edged down 0.1% (-0.1% y/y). Prices of consumer goods excluding automobiles improved 0.1% (0.7% y/y)..

Export prices showed a similar pattern as import prices gaining 0.6% (4.9% y/y) for the second consecutive month. A 0.3% May rise had been expected..

Agricultural export prices grew 1.6% (4.9% y/y) following a 1.2% decline. Nonagricultural export prices increased 0.5% (4.9% y/y) after a 0.7% gain. Among the end-use categories, prices of industrial supplies and materials jumped 1.6% (11.7% y/y), as petroleum prices flared 5.1% (29.7% y/y). Nonagricultural supplies and materials prices excluding fuels and building materials strengthened 0.2% (7.1% y/y). Prices of foods, feeds and beverages chewed 1.0% higher (4.2% y/y). Capital good prices edged up 0.1% (2.0% y/y) with computers, peripherals & semiconductors increasing 0.2% (2.1% y/y). Excluding this sector capital goods prices also grew 0.2% (1.9% y/y). Prices of motor vehicles and parts inched 0.1% higher (0.8% y/y). Prices of consumer goods excluding automobiles edged down 0.1% (+1.5% y/y). .

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, %) May Apr Mar Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Imports - All Commodities 0.6 0.6 -0.2 4.3 2.9 -3.3 -10.2
  Petroleum & Petroleum Products 5.9 4.4 -2.5 31.9 26.6 -19.7 -46.0
  Nonpetroleum 0.1 0.1 0.0 1.8 1.1 -1.5 -2.8
Exports - All Commodities 0.6 0.6 0.3 4.9 2.4 -3.2 -6.3
  Agricultural 1.6 -1.2 3.2 4.9 1.5 -5.4 -13.3
  Nonagricultural 0.5 0.7 0.0 4.9 2.5 -3.0 -5.5
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