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Import prices decreased −0.5 percent in March after rising 0.6 percent in February and 0.5 percent in January. March’s decline was in line with expectations of consensus forecasters. Falling petroleum prices (down −1.9 percent) and falling nonpetroleum prices (down −0.1 percent) were responsible for the decrease in the overall index. On a year-over-year basis, import prices fell −2.7 percent, extending February’s yearly loss of −0.9 percent. March marks the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. Petroleum prices dropped −10.4 percent, marking double-digit declines for the first time since July 2012. Nonpetroleum prices fell −0.2 percent year-over-year, the first decline since October 2012. After relatively strong import price reports in January and February, March’s read shows weakness similar to November’s and December’s reports. While oil prices contributed strength to January and February’s reports, their drop in March was a large driver of the weakness. Import prices will likely remain weak in the months to come due to the soft global economy.
Export prices fell −0.4 percent in March after rising 0.8 percent in February and 0.4 percent in January. On a year-over-year basis, export prices advanced 0.3 percent.