The BLS Import and Export Price report shows more bad news for the Trump administration hoping for a big surge in exports.
Import fuel prices decreased 7.7 percent in February, the largest monthly decline since the index dropped 7.8 percent in June 2019. The February decrease was led by lower prices for petroleum, though falling prices for natural gas also contributed to the monthly decline. Petroleum prices fell 7.6 percent in February following no change in January and a 0.5-percent advance in December. The price index for natural gas declined 12.4 percent in February, after decreasing 13.2 percent in January. Import fuel prices fell 5.8 percent over the past 12 months, driven by a 5.5-percent drop in petroleum prices and a 13.9- percent decline in natural gas prices.
All Imports Excluding Fuel
The price index for nonfuel imports increased 0.3 percent in February, following rises of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent in January and December, respectively. Higher prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; foods, feeds, and beverages; and capital goods all contributed to the February advance. Despite the recent monthly increases, nonfuel import prices fell 0.7 percent over the 12-month period ended in February and have not increased on an over-the-year basis since rising 0.6 percent in December 2018.
The price index for agricultural exports declined 2.7 percent in February following an increase of 2.1 percent in January. Falling prices for vegetables, soybeans, and meat in February more than offset higher fruit prices. Prices for agricultural exports increased over the past 12 months, rising 0.2 percent from February 2019 to February 2020.
All Exports Excluding Agriculture
Nonagricultural export prices decreased 1.0 percent in February, after advancing 0.6 percent the previous month. In February, declining prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials drove the decrease in nonagricultural export prices. The price index for nonagricultural exports declined 1.6 percent for the year ended in February.
Soybeans are on a price support level that dates all the way back to 2007.
The current price was first touched in 2004.
Trump will not exactly be happy to say the least. Nor will the farmers who mostly support him.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock