February 27, 2024

Prices for Imports to U.S. Fall Again

Prices of goods imported into the United States fell in August for the second time in three months as the cost of oil and food dropped, while autos stabilized, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

The department said the import-price index fell 0.4 percent. The decline followed a 0.3 percent increase in July. Economists projected a 0.8 percent decrease, according to the median of 52 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Prices excluding fuel rose 0.2 percent.

Slower growth in Europe and emerging economies like China, together with less demand in the United States, may restrain the cost of goods from abroad. Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, said last week that “transitory” influences that had pushed up some prices would wane, and that the central bank had tools to spur growth if necessary.

Compared with a year earlier, import prices rose 13 percent, the report showed, down from a revised 13.8 percent increase in the 12 months ended in July.

The cost of imported petroleum fell 2.1 percent from the prior month and was up 44 percent from a year earlier.

Import prices excluding all fuels increased 5.3 percent from August 2010, after rising 5.4 percent in the year that ended in July.

Imported food was 0.8 percent less expensive last month. The cost of imported automobiles was little changed, which may reflect the easing of supply constraints after the disaster in Japan.

Consumer goods excluding vehicles showed a 0.3 percent gain and were up 2 percent over the last 12 months, the biggest year-over-year increase since November 2008. Costs for clothing made overseas climbed 1.2 percent last month.

United States export prices increased 0.5 percent after declining 0.4 percent the previous month, the report showed. Prices of farm exports increased 2.2 percent, while those of nonfarm goods climbed 0.3 percent.

The price of consumer goods shipped overseas excluding autos climbed 5.9 percent over the last 12 months, the biggest gain since the records began in 1983.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=c3daba733daf208c2e830d11e5056e9c

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