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Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

U.S. Import and Export Price Indices for August, 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 August, 2006 :

Import Prices
Actual: +0.8%

Export Prices


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 following is a clip from today's Labor Department report:

"Import Goods

Import prices increased 0.8 percent in August, compared to a 1.0 percent rise in July. Petroleum prices rose 2.3 percent in August, and were up 25.9 percent over the past five months. Nonpetroleum prices also increased in August, rising 0.5 percent. For the year ended in August, prices for nonpetroleum imports rose 2.7 percent while overall import prices advanced 6.6 percent.

The August increase in nonpetroleum prices was led by a 1.8 percent rise in the price index for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials, which resumed an upward trend following a 0.9 percent downturn in July. The index increased 11.4 percent over the past 12 months. The August increase in nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices was driven by higher natural gas and unfinished metals prices which more than offset declining prices for chemicals and building materials. A 2.5 percent advance in foods, feeds, and beverages prices in August also contributed to the rise in nonpetroleum prices. The increase was the largest one-month jump in the index since March 2005, and prices for foods, feeds, and beverages rose 6.0 percent over the past year.

Price indexes for each of the major finished goods areas recorded little movement in August. Capital goods prices rose a modest 0.1 percent while the price indexes for consumer goods and automotive vehicles were both unchanged. For the August 2005-2006 period, consumer goods prices and prices for automotive vehicles increased, up 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, while capital goods prices decreased 0.3 percent.

Export Goods

Export prices rose 0.4 percent in August as higher prices for both agricultural exports and nonagricultural exports contributed to the increase. Prices for agricultural exports advanced for the fourth consecutive month, rising 1.0 percent in August. Higher prices for cotton, corn, and other agricultural foods more than offset lower wheat and soybean prices. Led by the increases in the past four months, agricultural prices rose 3.5 percent for the year ended in August. Nonagricultural prices continued a steady upward trend, rising 0.4 percent in August and 5.3 percent over the past 12 months. Overall export prices advanced a similar 5.2 percent for the year ended in August.

The August increase in nonagricultural prices was mostly driven by a 1.5 percent advance in the price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials, which was attributable to higher prices for metals, fuels, and chemicals. Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices rose 15.4 percent for the year ended in August. A 0.2 percent increase in consumer goods prices also contributed to the August rise in nonagricultural prices. Prices for consumer goods advanced 2.4 percent over the past year.

In contrast, capital goods prices fell 0.3 percent in August as prices for computers, peripherals, and semi-conductors declined 1.8 percent. Excluding computers, capital goods prices rose 0.2 percent. Despite the August decline, overall capital goods prices increased 0.5 percent over the past 12 months.

The price index for automotive vehicles was unchanged in August and up 1.4 percent for the August 2005-2006 period."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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