Source: Agriculture export prices mean lower income for farmers
COLUMBIA - A report on U.S. import and export prices reveals the price of agricultural exports has declined for the third consecutive month.
The report published by the U.S. Department of Labor states the price of agriculture exports declined by 1.1 percent in January. Exports in this industry saw a 1 percent decline in December and a 0.9 percent decline in November.
The overall price of U.S. exports fell in January for the second consecutive month by 0.8 percent. Over the past year, export prices fell by 5.7 percent.
MU Economics professor Joe Haslag said the could mean bad news for mid-Missouri farmers.
"In this case, the primary cause is the decline in agricultural prices," Haslag said. "With Missouri being dependent on ag prices, the export price is not so good, meaning that farm income is lower."
The price of U.S. imports also declined by 1.1 percent. Over the past year, imports declined 6.2 percent. The report credits the low price of fuel for causing the price to drop.
"Import prices are falling, especially fuel," Haslag said. "This is the benefit of the strong dollar, foreign goods are cheaper."
He said the drops in prices are no cause for alarm because the prices of import and exports fluctuate and is a "good thing" for the economy.
Oil prices jumped 12 percent Friday, which MU Professor of Finance Journalism Martha Steffens said will likely cause imports to get more expensive over time if the price stays up.