In a headline sure to bring out more nonsensical comments about hyperinflation, Bloomberg reports Cost of U.S. Imported Goods Rose More Than Forecast in April
Prices of goods imported into the U.S. rose more than forecast in April, driven by gains in fuel and food that may put pressure on some companies to raise prices.
The 2.2 percent increase in the import-price index followed a revised 2.6 percent gain in March, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists projected a 1.8 percent increase, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Prices excluding fuel advanced 0.6 percent.
Growing demand from economies in Asia and Latin America, paired with a weaker dollar, may keep pushing up the cost of goods from overseas. While businesses like Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFMI) are trying to decide whether to pass increased prices onto consumers, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he expects elevated commodity costs to moderate.
Compared with a year earlier, import prices increased 11 percent, exceeding the 10 percent increase projected by economists surveyed and the biggest 12-month gain in a year.
The cost of imported petroleum increased 7.2 percent from the prior month and was up 37 percent from a year earlier.
Excluding all fuels, import prices climbed 4.3 percent from April 2010, matching the prior month’s 12-month increase as the biggest since October 2008.
Imported food was 1.8 percent costlier last month and was up 20 percent from a year earlier, the biggest 12-month increase since records began in 1977.
Costs of imported automobiles rose 0.4 percent from the prior month, today’s report showed. Consumer goods excluding vehicles showed a 0.4 percent increase after falling 0.2 percent in March.
Imported capital goods prices were increased 0.1 percent.
A quick look at the no-so-shocking details shows oil was the biggest component. Of the 2.2% advance this month, 1.6% was petroleum. In other words 72% of the increase was petroleum, and food was much of the rest.
With food prices rising worldwide, this does not seem like much news, especially since the US grows the vast majority of its food. However, hyperinflationists will be all over it.
If oil takes a huge slide, and I think that is likely, oil prices will fall to negative territory at some point later this year.
Nonetheless, I am not in agreement with Bernanke’s policy statements regarding “transitory inflation” because he and the Central bank of China are responsible once again for spawning and ignoring equity and commodity bubbles. Bernanke’s primary intent was to stabilize housing and he failed.
The Fed can create liquidity but it cannot control where it goes, or if it goes anywhere at all.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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