April Import and Export Prices Bring Bull-Bear Tug of War

cargo ship
cargo ship

Import and export prices were tame in the month of April. The Labor Department's reading of import and export prices showed that import prices rose by 0.5%, right in line with the Dow Jones consensus estimates. The move was almost all due to lower energy costs, as petroleum import prices were down by 1.9% and nonpetroleum imports were down by only 0.1%.

Inflation hawks have little to talk about today, and with the large drop being tied almost entirely to energy, it is hard to even get too bothered about the deflationary side of the coin. This report is on the heels of a better-than-expected retail sales report for April that was strong enough to cause certain upward expectations for second-quarter GDP. Unfortunately, this import/export report offers no new bias and just brings up more debate.

Export prices were also in decline with a drop at -0.7% in April. Agriculture export prices were a drag here at -2.2%. Prices are flat or moving lower on finished goods in non-auto consumer goods exported.

Tuesday's report is just one which is not likely to cause much of a stir either way, so its broad market impact might be as if the data was never even released. Maybe you can call this a tug of war between bulls and bears, or maybe it is just a nonevent.

S&P 500 futures are up 1.25 at 1,632, while DJIA futures are up four points at 15,061 in early trading.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy