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Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Import and Export Price Indexes for March, 2007

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

Import Prices 
Predicted: +0.9
Actual: +1.7%


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

The 1.7 percent rise in March was the largest increase since May 2006. The price index for petroleum increased 9.0 percent in March following a 0.6 percent rise in February, and was the largest one-month jump since April 2006. The two consecutive advances in petroleum prices followed declines in four of the previous five months. Petroleum prices increased 2.4 percent over the past year. Nonpetroleum prices increased 0.3 percent in March, following a modest 0.1 percent advance in February. The price index for nonpetroleum imports increased 2.9 percent over the past 12 months while overall import prices advanced 2.8 percent for the same period.

The March increase in nonpetroleum prices was led by a 1.3 percent advance in prices for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials. The increase in nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials was driven by higher metals and natural gas prices. The price index for unfinished metals increased 2.4 percent in March and 25.3 percent over the past 12 months.

Increases in the price indexes for consumer goods and automotive vehicles also contributed to the March rise in nonpetroleum prices, advancing 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. For the year ended in March, consumer goods prices increased 1.8 percent and automotive vehicles prices rose 1.1 percent.

In contrast, capital goods prices and prices for foods, feeds, and beverages decreased in March. The price index for capital goods ticked down 0.1 percent after falling 0.2 percent in February. Foods, feeds, and beverages prices fell 0.1 percent, the first decline since June 2006. Lower vegetables prices were primarily responsible for the decrease.

Export Goods

Export prices rose 0.7 percent for the second consecutive month, as both agricultural prices and nonagricultural prices contributed to the advance. Agricultural prices increased 2.1 percent for the month and 20.2 percent over the past year. Higher corn, vegetables, meat, and wheat prices all contributed to the increase. Nonagricultural prices rose 0.6 percent for the month and 4.2 percent for the year ended in March. Overall export prices rose 5.3 percent for the March 2006-2007 period, the largest 12-month increase since September 1995.

A 1.9 percent increase in nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices was the largest contributor to the rise in nonagricultural prices. The advance followed a 2.0 percent increase in February and was driven by higher prices for metals, fuels, and chemicals. Over the past 12 months, the index rose 11.0 percent.

Prices for each of the major finished goods areas recorded little movement for the second consecutive month. Automotive vehicles prices increased a modest 0.1 percent for the second consecutive month. Prices for capital goods and consumer goods were unchanged in March after both indexes fell 0.1 percent in February. For the year ended in March, consumer goods prices increased 2.4 percent, automotive vehicles prices increased 1.4 percent, and capital goods prices increased 0.8 percent."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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