US Import Prices Fall in April

U.S. import prices fell for a 10th straight month in April, likely reflecting the impact of a strong dollar, a sign of benign inflation pressures that could encourage the Federal Reserve to delay raising interest rates.

The Labor Department said on Wednesday import prices fell 0.3 percent last month after slipping 0.2 percent in March.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices rising 0.3 percent.

In the 12 months through April prices fell 10.7 percent.

The dollar, which has gained about 11 percent against the currencies of the United States’ main trading partners since June, and lower crude oil prices are keeping a lid on price pressures.

That has left inflation running well below the Fed’s 2 percent target.

Persistently low inflation gives the U.S. central bank ample room to keep its ultra-low interest rate policy a while longer, while it looks for strong signals of the economy’s recovery after it weakened sharply in the first quarter.

The Fed has kept its key short-term interest rate near zero since December 2008.

Last month, imported petroleum prices rose 1.0 percent after increasing 1.6 percent in March.

via Reuters

Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza