Wednesday morning brought yet another delayed economic report from the Labor Department. This was the import and export prices for September, and it is a precursor to inflation readings in many counts.
The good news is that little to no inflation is being felt at the moment in the United States, even if many key emerging and developing markets are suffering vast inflationary pressures. Import prices were up by only 0.2%, but petroleum import costs were up 0.8%. Bloomberg was looking for a gain of 0.2% on the headline number.
Before you worry about getting high inflation at the pump, consumers likely have noticed that gasoline prices have been lower of late. Also note that if you back out petroleum prices, the total import prices were unchanged.
A key issue seen was that import prices from Japan were down by 2.8%, the biggest drop in more than 10 years. Lower prices from Japan also helped auto import prices come in 1.2% lower, which is the largest drop we have seen.
Export prices in September were up by 0.3%, rather than the 0.1% drop that Bloomberg had as the consensus estimate. That makes the year-over-year drop a tad less negative at 1.6%.
Again, this is another delayed report, and we cannot help but to ask how many more people might have had access to this data compared to normal economic reports.