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Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for April, 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 April, 2007 :

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.9
Actual: +1.3%

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 2.8 percent increase in import prices over the past two months drove the index to the highest level recorded since petroleum prices peaked in August 2006. This was largely attributable to the price index for petroleum which rose a further 6.5 percent in April after an 8.1 percent gain in March and a 1.7 percent advance in February. Despite the recent increases, petroleum prices were down 1.8 percent over the past year. Nonpetroleum prices also rose in April, advancing 0.2 percent following a 0.3 percent increase in March. The nonpetroleum price index was up 2.9 percent over the past 12 months. Overall import prices rose 1.9 percent for the year ended in April.

The increase last month in nonpetroleum import prices was led by a 0.9 percent advance in the price index for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials, which followed a 1.4 percent increase in March. Higher metals prices more than offset falling prices for natural gas and chemicals. Also contributing to the rise in nonpetroleum prices was a 1.4 percent increase in foods, feeds, and beverages prices and a modest 0.1 percent advance in consumer goods prices. The increase in foods, feeds, and beverages prices was largely attributable to a 10.1 percent rise in vegetable prices.

In contrast, capital goods prices decreased for the third consecutive month, falling 0.4 percent in April. The decline was led by a 1.8 percent drop in computer prices, the largest monthly decrease for that index since a 2.2 percent drop in July 1999.

The price index for automotive vehicles was unchanged in April after recording modest 0.1 percent advances in March and February.

Export Goods

Export prices rose 0.3 percent in April following 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent increases in March and February, respectively. A 0.4 percent advance in nonagricultural prices more than offset a downturn in agricultural prices.
Prices for nonagricultural exports rose for the sixth consecutive month and advanced 3.9 percent for the year ended in April. Overall, export prices increased 4.9 percent for the same period.

The increase in nonagricultural prices was led by the continued rise in the price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials, up 1.4 percent in April after advancing 1.8 percent and 2.1 percent in the two previous months. Higher prices for fuels, chemicals, and iron and steel products all contributed to the increase.

Prices for the major finished goods indexes were mixed in April. The price indexes for consumer goods and automotive vehicles increased, rising 0.5 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. In contrast, capital goods prices declined for the second consecutive month, falling 0.1 percent in April.

Agricultural prices decreased 1.3 percent in April, the largest decline since a 1.4 percent drop in September 2005. Corn prices, which had trended upward for most of 2007, led the downturn in agricultural prices, falling 14.3 percent in April. Despite the decline, corn prices were up 39.5 percent over the past year..."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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