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15.02.2019 21:53

U.S. import-price index falls more than expected in January

The Labor Department reported the import-price index, measuring the cost of goods ranging from Canadian oil to Chinese electronics, fell 0.5 percent m-o-m in January 2019, following an unrevised 1.0-percent m-o-m decrease in December 2018. Economists had expected prices to drop 0.1 percent m-o-m last month.

According to the report, import fuel prices decreased 3.2 percent m-o-m in January, primarily driven by a 44.2-percent m-o-m tumble in natural gas prices, while petroleum prices edged down 0.1 percent m-o-m. The price index for nonfuel imports declined 0.2 percent m-o-o in January, weighed down by falling prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials consumer goods, automotive vehicles and foods, feeds, and beverages which more than offset higher prices for capital goods.

Over the 12-month period ended in January, import prices dropped 1.7 percent, recording the largest over-the-year decline since the index fell 2.2 percent in August 2016.

At the same time, the price index for U.S. exports declined 0.6 percent m-o-m in January, the same pace as in the previous month. Export prices have only recorded one monthly gain since June.

Both nonagricultural prices (-0.3 percent m-o-m) and agricultural prices (-2.1 percent m-o-m) contributed to the January decline.

Over the past year, the price index for exports edged down 0.2 percent last month, recording the first 12-month drop since the index fell 0.2 percent in November 2016.


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