Economic Report: Import prices fall again in October, Americans paying less for foreign goods

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The cost of imported goods fell again in October.

The numbers: The cost of goods imported into the U.S. fell sharply in October, reflecting declines in a broad array of goods such as petroleum, food, drinks and consumer electronics.

The import price index sank 0.5% last month, the government said Friday.

If petroleum is excluded, import prices slipped 0.1%.

The price of imports have fallen 3% in the past year, marking the largest decline in a 12-month period since the middle of 2016. That’s made foreign goods such as wine and cheese cheaper for Americans to buy and put downward pressure on inflation in the U.S.

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What happened: The cost of imported oil fell 3.7% in October. Prices also fell for foods, beverages, consumer products and “capital goods” — large items such as heavy machinery bought by big companies.

Auto import prices were flat.

U.S. export prices also dipped 0.1%. They’ve declined 2.2% in the past year.

The cost of imports from China decreased 0.1% in October and prices are down 1.6% over the past 12 months. China has sought to counter stiff U.S. tariffs in part by letting the value of its currency fall.

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Big picture: Inflation is low in the U.S. and around the world and unlikely to rise much with global economic growth slowing to a crawl this year. While U.S. tariffs have led to price increases on some goods, inflation more broadly hasn’t been affected very much.

Read: Consumer prices rise at fastest pace in seven months on higher cost of gas

Also: Wholesale prices get gasoline bump in October, but PPI shows inflation still tame

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.01% and S&P 500 SPX, +0.08% were set to open slightly higher in Friday trades. Stocks have been cresting at record highs over the past week.

The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.48% was little changed at 1.85%.

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