Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
U.S. import prices increased by 0.4 percent in February after remaining unchanged throughout January and December (although both were revised down from 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively). Import prices came in lower than consensus forecasts, which had estimated a 0.6 percent rise. Although nonpetroleum import prices declined by 0.2 percent in February, they were more than offset by fuel prices which increased 1.4 percent, leading to an increase in the overall import price index. Petroleum prices were in turn the main driver behind the gains of fuel prices advancing 1.8 percent on a monthly basis and 18.4 percent year-over-year. Falling natural gas prices offset the gain in petroleum prices, thus moderating fuel price growth which declined 10.1 percent in February and 36.5 percent year-over-year. Import prices grew by 5.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, marking the slowest yearly gain since December 2010. Nonpetroleum import prices also posted one of the smallest gains seen in the past few years, rising 1.6 percent year-over-year. Excluding petroleum, there is low potential for foreign prices to put pressure on in domestic price levels in the coming months. Elevated petroleum prices, however, have the potential to weigh on GDP in the coming months.
Export prices advanced 0.4 percent in February after increasing 0.2 percent in January. February’s gains mark the largest monthly increase since September 2011. Nonagricultural prices grew by 0.5 percent after remaining flat in January, and were offset by a 0.9 percent decline in agricultural prices (which had previously increased by 1.1 percent). On a year-over-year basis, export prices rose by 1.5 percent, marking the smallest gain since November 2009.