Import Prices Up In June, But At Slower Rate

Drop in petroleum prices helps keep lid on prices.

Import prices rose by just 0.1 percent in June, the Labor Department said Friday, held down by a 1.4 percent drop in oil prices. Excluding petroleum, however, import prices were up sharply, and June's reading was the third-straight monthly rise.

The latest reading was less than what economists had been projecting, and was well below the 1.7% rise seen in May.

Petroleum prices had risen 17.8 percent over the previous two months, and despite the June downturn, petroleum prices rose 32.6 percent over the past year. The price index for nonpetroleum import prices advanced 0.4 percent in May following an increases of 0.1 percent in April.  For the year ended in June, nonpetroleum import prices rose 2.2 percent while overall import prices increased 7.2 percent.           

Export prices, meanwhile, rose 0.8 percent in June, the largest one-month increase since September 2005. Both agricultural and nonagricultural export prices contributed to the overall increase, the Labor Department said. Agricultural prices advanced 2.4 percent, the largest monthly increase for the index since March 2005. Higher prices for wheat, corn, and vegetables all impacted the increase. Despite the June rise, agricultural prices ticked down 0.2 percent over the past year.

Nonagricultural prices rose 0.6 percent in June, continuing the recent upward trend for the index.  Prices of nonagricultural exports rose 4.6 percent for the year ended in June, while overall export prices increased 4.2 percent for the same period.

The increase in nonagricultural prices was led by a 1.9 percent advance in the price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials.  Higher prices for metals, which rose sharply for the second consecutive month, and chemicals outweighed a downturn in fuel prices. Higher prices for consumer goods and automotive vehicles, up 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, also contributed to the increase in nonagricultural export prices.  For the year ended in June, prices for consumer goods rose 1.6 percent, while automotive vehicle prices advanced a similar 1.4 percent.

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