Import Prices Rise Just 0.4%

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February import prices climbed by just 0.4 per cent. Export prices also increased by 0.4 per cent.

Economists expected import prices to rise 0.6 per cent and export prices to rise 0.3 per cent.

Markets aren’t reacting to the data.

From the BLS:

U.S. import prices increased 0.4 per cent in February, the U.S. Bureau of labour Statistics reported today, as higher fuel prices more than offset declining nonfuel prices. The price index for imports was unchanged in the two previous months. U.S. export prices also rose 0.4 per cent in February after a 0.2 per cent advance in January.

Imports

All Imports: The 0.4 per cent February increase marked only the second time that import prices have
recorded a monthly advance greater than 0.1 per cent since the index rose 2.6 per cent in April 2011. Prices for overall imports increased 5.5 per cent over the past 12 months, the smallest year-over-year rise since the index advanced 5.3 per cent between December 2009 and December 2010.   

Fuel Imports: The price index for import fuel increased 1.4 per cent in February after remaining unchanged in January and falling 0.5 per cent in December. Fuel prices advanced 15.2 per cent for the year ended in February. Both the monthly and 12-month rise in fuel prices were driven by higher petroleum prices which advanced 1.8 per cent in February and 18.4 per cent over the past 12 months. In contrast, natural gas prices fell for the third consecutive month, declining a further 10.1 per cent in February after recording decreases of 6.8 per cent and 4.0 per cent the two previous months. Prices for natural gas fell 36.5 per cent over the past year, the largest 12-month drop in the index since a 49.1 per cent decrease in October 2009.    

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices edged down 0.1 per cent in February after ticking up
0.1 per cent in January. In February, a 3.0 per cent drop in food prices and a 0.1 per cent decline in capital goods prices more than offset higher prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials. The price index for nonfuel imports rose 2.3 per cent for the year ended in February.   

Exports

All Exports: The 0.4 per cent advance in export prices in February marked the largest monthly increase since a 0.5 per cent rise in September. Higher nonagricultural prices more than offset a decline in the price index for agricultural exports. Despite recording the largest monthly increase in five months, overall export prices rose only 1.5 per cent over the past 12 months, the smallest year-over-year advance since a 0.4 per cent rise for the November 2008-09 period.  

Agricultural Exports: Agricultural prices fell 0.9 per cent in February after rising 1.1 per cent the previous month. The decline was led by lower prices for fruits, cotton, and vegetables, down 6.8 per cent, 7.1 per cent, and 6.5 per cent, respectively. Corn and soybean prices, which had driven the increase in agricultural prices in January recorded little movement in February. Prices for corn edged down 0.2 per cent for the month, while soybeans prices rose 0.4 per cent. Overall agricultural prices decreased 6.2 per cent over the past year.      

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: In contrast, prices for nonagricultural exports increased 0.5 per cent in February after recording no change in January. Higher prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials and each of the major finished goods areas contributed to the increase. The price index for nonagricultural exports advanced 2.6 per cent over the past 12 months. 

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