Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
U.S. import prices climbed 1.3 percent in March after falling a revised 0.1 percent in February (up 0.4 percent, previously) and remaining flat through December and January. March’s jump was well above consensus forecasts which had predicted a 0.8 percent uptick. March also marks the largest monthly increase since April of last year. A 4.3 percent increase in petroleum import prices was the main driver behind the advance in the overall index. Nonpetroleum imports rose 0.3 percent in March, marking the largest monthly increase since May 2011. On a year-over-year basis, import prices rose 3.4 percent, the smallest gain since November 2009. Similarly, nonpetroleum import prices advanced 1.4 percent year-over-year, the smallest increase since January 2010. Although import prices rose at monthly rates unseen since last year, small increases in year-over-year prices suggest a moderation of foreign prices in the months to come. Elevated petroleum prices, however, still have the potential to weigh on GDP.
Export prices increased 0.8 percent in March, up from February’s 0.4 percent advance. Like import prices, March’s export prices mark the largest increase since April of last year. Gains in both nonagricultural export prices (up 0.5 percent) and agricultural prices (up 2.7 percent) drove March’s advance. With year-over-year gains of 0.9 percent, export prices posted the smallest increase since October 2009.