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October 2007, Vol. 130, No. 10
Import and export price trends in 2006
Carol Rowan and Sonya Wahi-Miller
Import prices increased 2.5 percent in 2006—the fifth consecutive annual increase for this index—following an increase of 8.0 percent in 2005. Import prices excluding energy goods increased 2.9 percent, compared with a more modest 1.1-percent increase in 2005. Export prices were up 4.5 percent, compared with a 2.8-percent increase in 2005. The rise was the largest year-to-year increase since the index rose 5.5 percent in 1988. Excluding agricultural products, export prices rose 3.7 percent, following a 2.6-percent increase the year before. (See table 1.)
As in 2005, the increase in energy prices influenced the overall increase for import prices in 2006. Geopolitical instability and supply concerns drove energy prices higher for the first 8 months of 2006; however, due to price declines that occurred later in the year, overall price increases were much slower than in 2004 and 2005. Metals and energy prices continued to increase in 2006, impacting overall increases for both import and export prices. Prices for industrial metals, namely aluminum and copper, along with prices for iron and steel remained high in 2006 due to strong industrial and international demand. The continued price increase for both metals and energy prices put upward pressure on finished goods prices, namely automotive vehicles and capital goods.
In contrast to 2005, the U.S. dollar weakened against the Euro, United Kingdom (U.K.) pound, and Swiss franc in 2006, impacting import prices for capital goods, consumer goods, and, to a lesser extent, automotive vehicles.
This excerpt is from an article published in the October 2007 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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