Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Import prices jump 1%, ex-oil prices fall 0.2%

Every month, we get three inflation reports -- import/export prices, the Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index. The first report showed ...

* Overall import prices jumped 1% in September, in line with expectations but a big swing from -0.3% in August. The gain pushed the year-over-year rate of import price inflation to 5.2% from 1.9% a month earlier.

* What caused the rise? You guessed it -- oil prices. They were up 5.4% between August and September, and 20.1% from September 2006. If you exclude petroleum products, you see import prices fell 0.2%. And if you exclude all fuels, you get a 0.1% drop.

* A couple of warning signs: Food prices have joined oil prices as an inflation threat. Food import costs jumped 1.2% last month. Also, those cheap Chinese goods we've grown to know and love are getting more expensive. Chinese import prices rose 0.2%, the fifth month in a row of gains.


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