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US Dec import prices unchanged as expected

Friday, January 11, 2008

WASHINGTON (Thomson Financial) - Oil and food prices moderated in December and allowed US import prices to remain unchanged for the month, although calendar year 2007 ended with the largest overall import price increase in 20 years, the Labor Department said today.

Import prices were unchanged in December, the smallest monthly change since August when prices fell slightly. Economists polled by Thomson's IFR Markets were predicting no change in import prices between November and December.

However, import prices rose a revised 3.3 pct in November, the largest monthly gain since September 1990.

Petroleum import prices in December fell 0.6 pct, the first decline since August. However, petroleum import prices ended the year 50.1 pct higher than they were at the end of 2006, the largest calendar-year price hike since 2002. In the twelve months ending November 2007, petroleum prices were up 57.1 pct.

Excluding petroleum, import prices were up 0.3 pct.

Overall import prices rose 10.9 pct in 2007, the largest calendar-year increase since 1987.

Food prices increased 0.6 pct in the month, and rose 9.3 pct in 2007.

Auto import prices rose 0.2 pct for the month, leaving the annual gain at 1.6 pct. That's the largest 12-month increase for autos since January 2005.

The price of imported natural gas rose by 2.8 pct in December.

Capital good import prices were unchanged for the month

US export prices in December rose 0.4 pct in the month, and were up 6.0 pct for the year, the largest calendar year increase since 1988.

Agricultural export prices rose 2.7 pct in December, and were up 23.5 pct in 2007, the largest calendar-year increase Labor started measuring this in 1985. Excluding agriculture, US export prices were up 0.3 pct.

Posted by MOHAMED SAID at 6:43 AM  


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