Thursday, February 15, 2007

Import Prices Decrease 1.2%

From the Department of Labor:

Import prices fell 1.2 percent in January after increases of 1.1 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, in December and November. A 7.3 percent decrease in petroleum prices drove the overall January drop, as petroleum prices resumed a recent downward pattern after increasing 4.6 percent in December. Nonpetroleum prices were unchanged in January after a 0.5 percent advance the previous month. Prices for nonpetroleum imports rose 1.6 percent over the 12 months ended in January.

Let's look at a chart of oil to see if this trend will continue:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Oil bottomed in mid-January around $52/bbl. Since then it has broken through technical resistance in the $57/bbl area. Currently it's still in an uptrend and appears to be consolidating its gains in the $58-$60 area.

In other words, so long as oil remains at or near current levels we can't expect this inflation number to repeat. In addition, this month's increase more or less canceled out last months increase, so we'll be back to square one next month.

However, this news should add fuel to the "inflation is decreasing from natural factors" bulls from yesterday.