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Economic Data (USA)

Friday, May 12, 2006

U.S. Import and Export Price Indices for April, 2006

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Price Indices for U.S. Imports and Exports this morning:

Import Prices
Consensus: +1.2%
Actual: +2.1%

Export Prices
Actual: +0.6%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in prices for

  • Imports: the cost of goods produced in other countries and sold in the U.S.

  • Exports: the cost of goods produced in the U.S. and sold in other countries.

Together, these indices offer insight into the status of inflation in the United States, and for the global economy as well.

The "consensus" is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

The following is a snippet from today's Labor Department report:

"Import Goods

Import prices increased 2.1 percent in April after declines of 0.6 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, in February and March. The advance was driven by an 11.5 percent jump in petroleum prices which followed a comparatively modest 0.5 percent rise the previous month. The April increase in petroleum prices was the largest for the index since a 13.4 percent rise in March 2005. Petroleum prices rose 32.5 percent over the past 12 months. Nonpetroleum prices were unchanged in April after decreases in each of the previous two months that largely resulted from lower natural gas prices. For the year ended in April, nonpetroleum prices increased 0.8 percent while overall import prices advanced 5.9 percent.

Prices for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials rose 0.5 percent in April as higher metals prices more than offset lower prices for natural gas, chemicals, and lumber. Nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices increased 6.1 percent for the year ended in April. The price index for automotive vehicles also rose, increasing 0.2 percent for the month and 0.3 percent over the past year.

In contrast, prices for foods, feeds, and beverages and for consumer goods declined in April, falling 0.9 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. Lower vegetable prices led the decrease in the price index for foods, feeds, and beverages, which still increased 0.3 percent over the past 12 months. Consumer goods prices declined for the second consecutive month and fell 0.3 percent for the year ended in April.

The price index for capital goods was unchanged in April and down 1.5 percent over the past year.

Export Goods

The price index of overall exports rose 0.6 percent in April as a 0.7 percent increase in nonagricultural prices more than offset a 0.6 percent decline in agricultural prices. Nonagricultural prices continued the upward trend over each of the past five months, and increased 2.5 percent for the year ended in April. Overall export prices rose 2.4 percent for the same period.

The increase in nonagricultural prices was led by a 2.0 percent advance in prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials, the largest monthly increase since October. A sharp rise in fuel prices drove the increase, but higher metals prices were also a contributing factor. The price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials advanced 8.0 percent over the past 12 months.

Prices for capital goods and for automotive vehicles also rose in April, advancing 0.4 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. The April increase in capital goods prices matched the January rise, which was the largest monthly advance since April 1995. Despite the recent increase, capital goods prices only rose 0.2 percent over the past 12 months. Automotive vehicle prices increased 1.0 percent over the same period of time. Prices for consumer goods recorded no change last month and rose 0.3 percent for the year ended in April.

In contrast, agricultural export prices fell for the fifth time in the past six months and decreased 0.3 percent over the April 2005-2006 period. Lower soybean prices were the largest contributor to the April decline."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.



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