March 2021 Import Year-Over-Year Inflation Grows To +6.9%

Year-over-year import price indices inflation grew from +1.4 % to +3.0 %.

Analyst Opinion of the Import / Export Price Situation

Per the BLS:

Prices for U.S. imports rose 1.2 percent in March, after increasing 1.3 percent the previous month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Higher fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the advances for both months. U.S. exports also increased in March, rising 2.1 percent, following a 1.6-percent advance in February and a 2.6-percent increase in January.

Note that:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make changes to either the collection method or estimation methodology for the March 2021 release of U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes. Survey response rates for March 2021 were 0.4-percentage points higher than those in March 2020.

Import Oil prices moved from a revised +11.7 % to +6.3 % month-over-month, and export agricultural prices up from +2.8 % to +2.4 %

  • the markets were expecting (from Econoday):
  Consensus Range Consensus Actual
Import Prices - M/M change 0.4 % to 1.4 % +0.9 % +1.2 %
Import Prices - Y/Y change 3.2 % to 6.7 % +6.3 % +6.9 %
Export Prices - M/M change 0.5 % to 1.0 % +0.9 % +2.1 %
Export Prices - Y/Y change     +9.1 %

There is only a marginal correlation between economic activity, recessions, and export/import prices. Prices can be rising or falling going into a recession or entering a period of expansion. Econintersect follows this data series to adjust economic activity for the effects of inflation where there are clear relationships.

Econintersect follows this series to adjust data for inflation.

Year-over-Year Change - Import Prices (blue line) and Export Prices (red line)

There are three cases of deflation outside of a recession - early 1990′s, late 1990′s, and mid 2000′s. Import price deflation is normally associated with the strengthening of the dollar relative to other currencies.

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