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.
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%.
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.