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Import and Export Prices  
Released On 10/12/2018 8:30:00 AM For Sep, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Import Prices - M/M change-0.6 %-0.4 %0.2 %0.0 % to 0.5 %0.5 %
Export Prices - M/M change-0.1 %-0.2 %0.3 %-0.1 % to 0.3 %0.0 %
Import Prices - Y/Y change3.7 %3.8 %3.5 %
Export Prices - Y/Y change3.6 %3.5 %2.7 %

At plus 0.5 percent, the headline for September import prices would appear to show pressure but the details don't. When excluding a 4.1 percent monthly upswing in prices of imported petroleum, import prices come in unchanged. The strength of the dollar together with discounting by foreign sellers are keeping prices of finished goods dead flat, unchanged in the month for both vehicles and capital goods and down 0.1 percent for consumer goods.

Year-on-year rates underscore the lack of imported price pressure, unchanged for capital goods, up 0.1 percent for vehicles, and up 0.6 percent for consumer goods. Total year-on-year import prices, inflated by a 32 percent jump in petroleum, are up 3.5 percent. Without petroleum, import prices are up only 0.6 percent on the year.

One of the few areas to show any upward pressure is the price of imported foods which jumped 2.0 percent in September. The export side shows a contrast with agricultural prices down 1.4 percent in the month. Total export prices were unchanged in the month for a yearly 2.7 percent rate in contrast to agricultural prices which are down 2.3 percent. Export prices of finished goods match those on the import side, all dead flat.

By country of origin, import prices from China edged 0.1 percent lower for a third straight month with the yearly rate at plus 0.4 percent. Import prices from the European Union fell a monthly 0.2 percent with this yearly rate at plus 2.2 percent. In contrast, import prices from Canada and Mexico both show pressure, up 0.7 percent for Canada at a yearly 9.5 percent and up 0.9 percent for Mexico with this yearly rate, however, up only 0.5 percent.

Cross-border price inflation, outside of the monthly ups and downs for oil, remain subdued and with import prices, because of the strength of the dollar and despite the early effects of tit-for-tat tariffs on U.S. goods, posing no immediate threat to domestic price stability.

Consensus Outlook
Dollar strength along with subdued inflation at the global level have been pulling import prices down. Forecasters see September import prices rising only 0.2 percent following declines of 0.6 percent and 0.1 percent in the two prior months. Export prices have also been weak, falling 0.1 percent and 0.5 percent in the last two reports with a 0.3 percent increase the call for September.

Import price indexes are compiled for the prices of goods that are bought in the United States but produced abroad and export price indexes are compiled for the prices of goods sold abroad but produced domestically. These prices indicate inflationary trends in internationally traded products.  Why Investors Care
Yearly changes in import and export prices reveal long term price trends for tradable goods, whether inflationary, disinflationary, or deflationary.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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