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Economic Data (USA)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Import and Export Price Indexes for February 2007

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on US Import and Export Price Indexes for February 2007:

Import Prices
Predicted: +1.0
Actual: +0.2%


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 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

Prices for imports increased 0.2 percent in February as a 2.0 percent increase in petroleum prices more than offset a modest decline in nonpetroleum prices. The advance in petroleum prices followed declines in four of the previous five months, and despite the February upturn petroleum prices decreased 2.6 percent over the past year. Nonpetroleum prices recorded a second consecutive 0.1 percent decline in February after rising 0.5 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively, in December and November. The price index for nonpetroleum imports advanced 2.1 percent over the past 12 months while overall import prices advanced 1.3 percent for the same period.

Decreases in the price indexes for capital goods and nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials both contributed to the February decline in nonpetroleum prices. Prices for capital goods fell 0.3 percent, the largest monthly drop for the index since July 2005. The decrease was driven by a 0.9 percent decline in the price index for computers, peripherals, and semiconductors. Led by lower prices for lumber and some metals, nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices edged down 0.1 percent in February. The decrease was tempered by an upturn in natural gas prices.

In contrast, automotive vehicles prices and prices for foods, feeds, and beverages increased in February. The price index for automotive vehicles ticked up 0.1 percent, the first change for the index since a 0.2 percent advance in October. Foods, feeds, and beverages prices continued to trend upward, rising 0.2 percent in February. Higher fish prices more than offset declining fruits and vegetables prices.

Consumer goods prices were unchanged in February following 0.3 percent increases in each of the previous two months.

Export Goods

Export prices rose 0.7 percent in February, the largest increase since June 2006, and both agricultural prices and nonagricultural prices contributed to the advance. Agricultural prices increased 2.3 percent for the month and 16.9 percent over the past year. The February advance was primarily led by higher corn and soybeans prices, although rising prices for meat, fish, fruit, and wheat also contributed to the increase. Nonagricultural prices rose 0.6 percent for the month and 3.7 percent for the year ended in February. Overall export prices rose 4.7 percent for the February 2006-2007 period.

A 2.1 percent increase for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices was the largest contributor to the rise in nonagricultural prices. The advance was the largest for the index since May 2006 and was driven by higher prices for fuels, metals, and paper. Over the past 12 months, the index rose 9.6 percent.

Prices for each of the major finished goods areas recorded little movement in February. Automotive vehicles prices increased a modest 0.1 percent following 0.2 percent advances in each of the previous two months. In contrast, capital goods prices edged down 0.1 percent after increasing 0.2 percent in January. The price index for consumer goods was unchanged in February after a 0.9 percent jump the previous month."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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