The U.S. trade price report
The U.S. trade price report was mixed but slightly weaker than assumed on net, with a flat import price figure that was restrained by a 1.3% petroleum import price drop, but a firm 0.3% export price rise due to a 3.4% pop in agricultural export prices, alongside smaller core price gains than seen over the prior two months. Analysts saw the usual skewing toward export price strength in recent years. Trade prices continue to climb, though restraint in the domestic inflation measures since firm January data have trimmed the market's inflation fears. Analysts expect export prices to rise 0.3% in April, while import prices rise by 0.5%. Export prices ex-agriculture and import prices ex-petroleum are poised for 2018 gains of 3% Dec/Dec, following respective gains of 2.9% and 1.4% in 2017 and 1.4% and 0.3% in 2016. Analysts previously saw big respective declines of 5.9% and 3.7% in 2015, 2.8% and 0.1% in 2014, and 0.4% and 1.1% in 2013. Trade price firmness since 2016 has been led by a drop in the dollar and recovering growth abroad, and analysts now face a lift from fiscal stimulus with tax reform and the new budget.