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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for January, 2007

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released the price indexes for U.S. imports and exports for January, 2007 :

Import Prices
Predicted: -1.0
Actual: -1.2%

Export Prices

Actual:
+0.3%

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 indexes offer insight into the status of inflation in the United States, and for the global economy as well. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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

"Import Goods

Import prices fell 1.2 percent in January after increases of 1.1 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, in December and November. A 7.3 percent decrease in petroleum prices drove the overall January drop, as petroleum prices resumed a recent downward pattern after increasing 4.6 percent in December. Nonpetroleum prices were unchanged in January after a 0.5 percent advance the previous month. Prices for nonpetroleum imports rose 1.6 percent over the 12 months ended in January.

Changes in prices for nonpetroleum imports were highlighted by a turnaround in the index for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices, which declined 1.0 percent. The January decrease followed increases of 1.7 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, in December and November. The drop in nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices was driven by a downturn in natural gas prices. In the previous two months, natural gas prices had led the advance in nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices. Capital goods prices edged down 0.1 percent, declining for the first time since a 0.1 percent decrease in April 2006.

In contrast, the price index for consumer goods rose 0.3 percent. The increase in consumer goods prices was driven by higher prices for medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical preparatory materials. The price indexes for foods, feeds, and beverages and for automotive vehicles also increased in January, advancing 1.5 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. A 4.9 percent increase in vegetables prices led the January rise in foods, feeds, and beverages prices. In December, the index for foods, feeds, and beverages had increased 0.7 percent. The modest increase in prices for automotive vehicles in January followed a 0.1 percent drop in December.


Export Goods

Export prices increased 0.3 percent in January as higher prices for both agricultural and nonagricultural exports contributed to the rise. The advance in the prices for overall exports followed increases of 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, in December and November. For the year ended in January, export prices rose 4.1 percent. The 0.7 percent increase in agricultural prices was led by higher prices for vegetables and meat, which more than offset lower prices for corn, wheat, and soybeans. Agricultural prices rose 13.5 percent over the past 12 months. Nonagricultural prices also increased in January, rising 0.3 percent.

A 0.3 percent advance in nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices led the January increase in nonagricultural prices. Metals prices continued to rise in January. However, prices for fuels and lubricants, up over the past 12 months, fell in January. For the year ended in January, nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices rose 8.4 percent.

Prices for each of the major finished goods areas also increased in January. The price index for capital goods, which makes up about 40 percent of overall exports, rose 0.2 percent for the month and 0.9 percent over the past year. Automotive vehicles prices increased 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month. Prices for automotive vehicles rose 1.5 percent for the year ended in January. The price index for consumer goods advanced 0.8 percent for the month and 2.4 percent for the January 2006-2007 period."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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