Import prices rose for the third month in a row in the month of October. The U.S. Labor Department reported a 0.5% gain month over month when you compare the gains to September, despite some ongoing pressure in oil. Dow Jones was calling for October import prices to be flat and Bloomberg was looking for a gain of only 0.1% in October.
As far as how this compares, the gain in September was 1.1% and the gain in August was 1.2%. While this is higher than expected, at least the trajectory is lower and that may keep the inflation hawks a bit subdued. What is interesting is that prices on goods from China actually were down by about 0.3%, but goods from Europe were up by 0.6%.
While oil prices are still low, the ex-energy import prices were up by 0.3%, and that was the biggest gain in at least six months. Food prices were up by 0.2%, auto import prices were up 0.3% and consumer goods on an ex-autos basis were up by 0.2%.
China has a virtual currency peg and prices were down, while Europe is in the midst of disaster and prices were up. Sometimes these numbers just seem counterintuitive.
JON C. OGG