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October 1984, Vol. 107, No. 10
Effects of strong dollar, economic recovery apparent in first-half import and export pricesMark Johnson and Patricia Szarek
U.S. import prices rose 1.0 percent in the first half of 1984, after falling 2.5 percent during all of 1983. (See table 1.) The increase in import prices was led by prices for food and miscellaneous manufactures, which were partially offset by stable crude oil prices. The vigorous U.S. economic recovery boosted demand for imported productsthe Nation imported a record $160.2 billion of merchandise during the first half 1while the strong dollar served to moderate price increases. The small rise in import prices was an important factor in the continued slowdown of domestic inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index.
U.S. export prices rose 2.0 percent in the first half. (See table 2.) This price index was published for the first time with the release of fourth-quarter 1983 data, and has risen 1.5 percent since that period. Higher prices for crude materials and fats and oils led the first-half increase in export prices. For raw materials, price increases were generally larger in the second quarter than in the first, reflecting rising prices for soybeans and fats and oils. Price increases for manufactured articles were smaller in the second quarter than in the first and rose only slightly during the entire first half, a development that dampened the upward movement in U.S. export prices. The strong dollar and reduced demand for U.S. products by developing nations with heavy international debt loads placed downward pressure on export prices for these articles, which include machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, intermediate manufactures, and miscellaneous manufactures.
The price indexes discussed in this article are not seasonally adjusted and are based on transaction price information provided by a sample of U.S. importers and exporters. They represent 100 percent of the value of all imported and exported products. Indexes are published for detailed and aggregate categories of imports and exports.2
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1 Amount indicated is on Balance of Payments basis. See U.S. Department of Commerce News, BEA 84-41 (Bureau of Economic Analysis), Aug. 6, 1984.
2 Import price indexes are weighted by 1980 import values and are published on an f.o.b. (free-on-board) foreign port or c.i.f. (cost, insurance, and freight) U.S. port basis. Export price indexes are weighted by 1980 U.S. merchandise trade values and are published on an f.o.b. factory or f.a.s. (free-alongside-ship) U.S. port basis. See "International Price Program" (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
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