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Import and Export Prices Drop Unexpectedly for April

Import prices are down, but export prices are down even more, according to an April Labor Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.

Import prices fell 0.4% for April, erasing their 0.4% gain in March. Analysts were taken by surprise, having expected another 0.4% increase on top of March's boost. This is the first time imports have felt a price dip since last November. The decline was primarily due to a 1.7% drop in fuel import prices, while nonfuel import prices stayed steady from March levels. Petroleum and natural gas prices fell 0.7% and 18.5%, respectively. Natural gas prices haven't dropped this fast since July 2013.

Source: Labor Department. 

After increasing a revised 1% in March, export prices dropped off a full 1% for April. Analysts had estimated a 0.2% bump. Although agricultural prices increased 1.4%, prices for nonagricultural exports fell 1.2%. 

Source: Labor Department. 

On a regional basis, import prices from Japan and China both fell 0.1%, while imports from Canada took a 1.6% dip, led by lower fuel prices.

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