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April 1985, Vol. 108, No. 4
Prices of U.S. imports and exports
declined in 1984
U.S. import prices declined for the second consecutive year in 1984, decreasing 1.7 percent after a 2.5-percent drop in 1983. (See table 1.) The downward trend in import prices during the year was more broad-based than in 1983, when aggregate price movements were predominately influenced by falling energy prices. The price index for nonenergy imports decreased a moderate 1.0 percent in 1984, after having advanced 2.1 percent in 1983. Substantial price reductions were registered for food, chemicals, and machinery and transport equipment in 1984. While price increases for fats and oils, and tobacco and beverages helped to moderate the decline, prices for intermediate manufactures and miscellaneous manufactures also drifted downward over the year.
The appreciation of the U.S. dollar and plentiful supplies of foreign-produced goods were the principal factors exerting downward pressure on import prices, despite the Nation's vigorous economic growth. Strong U.S. demand was increasingly met by imported merchandise; the record $328 billion of goods imported in 1984 represented a 25.5-percent increase over 1983.1 The large supplies and lower prices of foreign-made merchandise contributed to low levels of domestic inflation.2
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1 Amount indicated is on Balance of Payments basis. See U.S. Department of Commerce News, BEA 85-05 (Bureau of Economic Analysis), Feb. 7, 1985.
2 Seymour Zucker, "Zero Inflation: An Impossible Dream That May Come True," Business Week, Aug. 20, 1984, p. 30, and "Why a Booming Economy is not Causing Shortages." Business Week, July 16, 1984, p. 150.
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