WASHINGTON - U.S. July import prices declined 0.6% in a third sharp drop and a fourth consecutive decline.

In June, imports were off a revised 2.4%.

This was a far bigger drop than expected, illustrating that prices outside of energy also are weak.

Import prices now are down 3.2% over the year, primarily reflecting declining energy costs.

Even non-petroleum import prices were down 0.3% and off 0.5% over the year in the largest twelve month dip since November 2009. Nonfuel fell 0.4%. This suggests there are no inflation pressures (even as the prices of crude oil and gasoline rebounded in late summer).

Import prices for food, capital and consumer goods all dipped.

Import prices from most areas fell; from Japan they were unchanged and from the NICs they printed up a mere 0.1%.

Export prices were 0.5% higher and nonfarm exports dropped 0.3%.

The Labor Department added 249 new indices showing prices of products from specific areas but the data are only available on the web.

Market News International is a real-time global news service for fixed-income and foreign exchange market professionals. See www.marketnews.com.

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