By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) POTUS Donald Trump has received a lot of criticism from both Left and Right over his tariff regimes against China, Europe, and threats to impose them on Mexico if the latter continued to allow tens of thousands of migrants free access through the country enroute to the United States.
But despite all of their predictions about economic doom and gloom and how American consumers were going to take it in the pocketbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed Friday that import costs actually fell last month.
The BLS noted that the decline in import costs was largely driven by a drop in oil import expenses:
Prices for U.S. imports declined 0.3 percent in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following an increase of 0.1 percent the previous month. Lower fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the May decline in import prices. U.S. export prices fell 0.2 percent in May, after advancing 0.1 percent in April, 0.8 percent in March, and 0.6 percent in February.
U.S. Import prices fell 0.3 percent in May, the first monthly decline since a 1.4-percent drop in December. Import prices advanced 1.8 percent from December to April before the downturn in May. The price index for overall imports decreased 1.5 percent over the past 12 months, matching the drop in January. These were the largest over-the-year declines since the index fell 2.2 percent in August 2016.
Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices declined 1.0 percent in May, after rising 25.4 percent over the previous 4 months. Lower prices for both petroleum and natural gas contributed to the May decline. Petroleum prices fell 0.9 percent in May, after a 4.7-percent advance in April. The May decrease was the first monthly decline since a 15.3-percent drop in December. Natural gas prices fell 6.8 percent in May following a 51.1-percent decline the previous month. Overall fuel prices decreased 1.1 percent over the past year. The decline was driven by a 1.9-percent drop in petroleum prices which more than offset a 2.5-percent rise in natural gas prices.
Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices decreased 1.0 percent in May, after falling 0.1 percent in April. The May decline was led by a 1.9-percent drop in unfinished metals prices. Lower prices for building materials and paper also contributed to the overall decline.
Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mostly down in May. The price indexes for capital goods and automotive vehicles each edged down 0.1 percent following decreases of 0.4 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, in April. Consumer goods prices recorded no change in May, after declining 0.3 percent the previous month.
Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages fell 0.8 percent in May following a 2.7-percent increase in April. In May, a 10.4-percent drop in vegetable prices more than offset a 7.5-percent advance in fruit prices.
While the drop in overall import costs was largely driven by oil, this comes in the face of tariffs imposed on some $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. And remember, virtually all the economic ‘pundits’ advising the Washington press corps have criticized the president’s use of these tariffs as a means of improving trade and opportunities for Americans. So this import cost drop comes amid those factors.
Indeed, overall, the U.S. economy is humming along very well under the president’s leadership. As The Gateway Pundit reported, “Consumer prices are barely up at 0.1%. Unemployment stands at a 50-year low of 3.6% and 75,000 new jobs were created last month. Hourly earnings are up as well as productivity.”
Under a Democrat administration — especially a socialist regime like the kind Bernie Sanders would usher in — these gains would disappear before Inauguration Day.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10