August 14, 2022

Import Prices Fall for First Time in a Year

Prices of goods imported to the United States fell in June for the first time in a year as oil and food expenses retreated, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

The 0.5 percent fall in the import-price index followed a revised 0.1 percent gain in May, the figures showed. Economists projected a 0.6 percent decrease for June, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Prices excluding petroleum fell 0.2 percent, the first decline since July 2010.

“The drop is really reflective of what we’re expecting for the second half of the year with weaker energy and food prices,” said David Semmens, a United States economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York. “This really feeds into the transitory story that you’ve been hearing from the Fed.”

Compared with a year earlier, import prices rose 13.9 percent, the biggest 12-month advance since August 2008, the report showed.

The cost of imported petroleum fell 1.6 percent from the previous month, the largest one-month drop since June 2010. Even with the decrease, the cost was still up 50 percent from a year earlier.

Excluding all fuels, import prices decreased 0.1 percent from the previous month and were up 4.8 percent from June 2010. The 12-month gain was the biggest since October 2008.

Imported food was 1.9 percent cheaper last month, the largest decline since February 2009. A 2.6 percent drop in unfinished metals also helped hold down nonfuel import costs.

Rising costs for automobiles limited the overall decline in prices. Costs of imported automobiles, parts and engines climbed 0.3 percent, and were up 2.9 percent over the last 12 months. It was the biggest yearly gain since August 2008.

Consumer goods excluding vehicles rose 0.1 percent after increasing 0.3 percent in May.

The cost of goods from China climbed 0.1 percent, the smallest gain since September, while those from Japan were little changed, the report showed. Goods from Latin America fell 1.1 percent, and those from the European Union increased 0.1 percent. Prices of Canadian imports dropped 1 percent, and goods from Mexico fell 2.2 percent, the biggest decline since November 2008.

Export prices increased 0.1 percent after advancing 0.2 percent the previous month, the figures showed. Prices of farm exports rose 0.7 percent, while those of nonfarm goods were little changed.

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