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Economic Data (USA)

Friday, June 09, 2006

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

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released the Price Indices for U.S. Imports and Exports for May, 2006 :

Import Prices
Consensus: +0.7%
Actual: +1.6%

Export Prices
Actual: +0.7%

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 Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

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

"Import Goods

The 1.6 percent rise in May followed a 2.1 percent increase in April, and marked the largest 2-month jump for the index since October 1990. A 5.2 percent rise in petroleum prices and a 0.6 percent advance in nonpetroleum prices both contributed to the overall increase in May. The advance in petroleum prices was the third consecutive monthly increase for the index, but was less than half the 11.5 percent jump recorded in April. Petroleum prices rose 45.7 percent for the year ended in May. The 0.6 percent increase in nonpetroleum prices last month was the largest monthly change since October and followed a comparatively modest 0.1 percent advance in April. Over the past 12 months, nonpetroleum import prices rose 1.5 percent while overall import prices increased 8.3 percent.

The May increase in nonpetroleum prices was led by a 2.5 percent advance in prices for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials. That increase was primarily driven by a continued rise in metals prices, although higher prices for building materials and chemicals were also contributing factors. The price index for unfinished metals rose 7.8 percent in May, which was the largest monthly increase for that index since monthly publication began back in September 1988. Prices for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials rose 9.0 percent for the year ended in May.

Higher prices for consumer goods; foods, feeds and beverages; and automotive vehicles also contributed to the May increase in nonpetroleum prices. Consumer goods prices advanced 0.3 percent in May, but declined 0.1 percent over the past 12 months. Foods, feeds, and beverages prices rose 1.3 percent for the month and prices for automotive vehicles ticked up 0.1 percent. Over the past year, the price indexes for foods, feeds, and beverages and automotive vehicles increased 1.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Capital goods prices were unchanged in May and down 1.6 percent for the May 2005-2006 period.

Export Goods

Export prices increased for the sixth consecutive month, rising 0.7 percent in May following a 0.6 percent advance in April. Higher nonagricultural prices and a turnaround in agricultural prices both contributed to the May increase. Agricultural prices rose 0.8 percent in May after falling in each of the three previous months, and were led by rising soybean prices. Despite the increase, prices for agricultural exports declined 1.4 percent for the year ended in May. Nonagricultural prices rose 0.6 percent in May after increasing 0.7 percent in April, and advanced 3.8 percent over the past year. Overall export prices rose 3.4 percent for the year ended in May.

The increase in nonagricultural prices was led by a 1.7 percent advance in nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices. Continued higher prices for metals and fuel, as well as an upturn in chemicals prices all contributed to the increase. The price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials rose 11.6 percent over the past 12 months.

Prices for each of the major finished goods areas also rose in May; consumer goods prices increased 0.5 percent, and the price indexes for both capital goods and automotive vehicles ticked up 0.1 percent. For the year ended in May, consumer goods prices increased 1.0 percent, automotive vehicles prices increased 1.1 percent, and capital goods prices increased 0.2 percent."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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