Financial & Economy | G-Fin™ | Grants

Financial & Economy | G-Fin™ | Grants


The Free Press WV

U.S. import prices fell 0.5 percent in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following a 1.0-percent drop in December and a 1.7-percent decrease in November. Both fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the January decline. Prices for U.S. exports decreased 0.6 percent for the second consecutive month in January.


Prices for U.S. imports declined 0.5 percent in January and 3.1 percent over the last 3 months. The 3-month drop was the largest decrease since the index fell 3.1 percent from July 2015 to October 2015. Import prices decreased 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year decline since the index fell 2.2 percent in August 2016.

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices decreased 3.2 percent in January and 22.5 percent over the past 3 months, the largest drop over a 3-month period since the index fell 29.2 percent for the 3 months ended in February 2016. The January drop was primarily driven by a 44.2-percent drop in natural gas prices; petroleum prices edged down 0.1 percent. The decline in natural gas prices followed a 138.8-percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2018. Fuel prices decreased 14.4 percent over the past year. A 14.5-percent drop in petroleum prices and a 20.0-percent decline in prices for natural gas each contributed to the overall decrease in fuel prices from January 2018 to January 2019.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: The price index for nonfuel imports fell 0.2 percent in January. The January decrease was led by falling prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials; consumer goods; automotive vehicles; and foods, feeds, and beverages which more than offset higher prices for capital goods. Import prices excluding fuel also declined 0.2 percent over the past year.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials decreased 0.7 percent in January, driven by lower prices for unfinished metals and chemicals.

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mostly down in January. Consumer goods prices fell 0.3 percent and prices for automotive vehicles declined 0.2 percent. Capital goods prices ticked up 0.1 percent.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: The price index for foods, feeds, and beverages declined 0.3 percent in January. An 11.2-percent drop in vegetable prices more than offset an 8.2-percent rise in fruit prices.


Prices for U.S. exports decreased 0.6 percent in January, after falling 0.6 percent in December and 0.8 percent in November. Export prices have only recorded one monthly advance since June. In January, both nonagricultural prices and agricultural prices contributed to the decline. The price index for overall exports decreased 0.2 percent for the year ended in January, the first 12-month decline since the index fell 0.2 percent in November 2016.

Agricultural Exports: Agricultural export prices declined 2.1 percent in January, the largest monthly decrease since the index fell 5.2 percent in July. The January drop followed increases of 3.8 percent in December and 1.7 percent in November. A 34.6-percent fall in export vegetable prices drove the January decline in agricultural prices. Despite the January drop, export agricultural prices advanced 0.2 percent over the past year.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: The price index for nonagricultural exports declined 0.3 percent in January, after falling 1.1 percent in December and 1.0 percent in November. Decreasing prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials and consumer goods more than offset higher prices for capital goods and automotive vehicles. Prices for nonagricultural exports fell 0.2 percent from January 2018 to January 2019, the first decrease over a 12-month period since the index declined 0.2 percent in November 2016. The drop over the past 12 months was driven by a 2.4-percent decrease in nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices.

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials decreased 1.4 percent in January following a 3.4-percent decline the previous month. The January drop was led by a 3.4-percent decline in fuel prices.

Finished Goods: Finished goods prices were mixed in January. Prices for capital goods advanced 0.4 percent, the largest monthly increase for the index since a 0.6-percent rise in April. The price index for automotive vehicles ticked up 0.1 percent. In contrast, consumer goods prices fell 0.4 percent, the largest decline since the index decreased 1.0 percent in January 2017.

Small Debts Stood Between Them and Graduation. A Historic Church Stepped In

The Free Press WV

Debts between $100 and more than $3,000 stood between 34 Howard University seniors and graduation. Unless the debts, for things like tuition and fees, were paid, the students likely wouldn’t receive their diplomas from the historically black university in Washington, DC. Then Alfred Street Baptist Church stepped in. The historic black church, founded in 1803 in Alexandria, Va., has long-standing ties to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and thanks to money raised by its members—60% of whom are estimated to have graduated from HBCUs—it paid off the debts of all 34 students. “It was overwhelming,“ one student, who works and raises her young son in addition to attending school, tells NPR. “The fact that I don’t have to worry about it is definitely a weight lifted off my shoulders.“

The church’s 8,000 members pledged to do a “financial fast” in January, abstaining entirely from things like sweets and alcohol and only spending money on essential items. Then they donated the money they’d saved: $150,000. Two-thirds of that sum went to the Howard students; another $50,000 went to Bennett College, one of just two remaining historically black women’s-only colleges, in Greensboro, NC. “I thought, ‘What better way to celebrate Black History Month than investing in the young, black heroes of HBCUs?‘“ an assistant minister tells the Washington Post. Adds the church’s pastor, “These 34 students are going to change the world, and we’re just glad to be part of their resume.“

Looking for Love Online? Hold Onto Your Wallet

The Free Press WV

If you wanted the Federal Trade Commission’s take on Valentine’s Day, here it is: Beware of getting scammed seeking love online. The warning comes via the agency’s latest revelation, which cites more than 21,000 reports of people getting swindled by internet “paramours” in 2018, NPR reports. Their wallets got crushed along with their hearts, to the tune of $143 million, which was more than any other type of consumer fraud that the FTC identified last year. For context, the agency reported that just three years earlier, 8,500 people filed reports, noting $33 million in losses.

The median amount that individual people lost in 2018 was $2,600, though that number spiked for people 70 and over: $10,000. Meanwhile, those ages 40 to 69 lost more than double what 20-somethings did. A word of advice from the FTC: Don’t give money to someone you’ve “met” only on the computer, and don’t ignore any nagging red flags that pop up during conversations, like shifting stories. If you do think you’ve been the victim of this particular type of “imposter scam” (or another kind), the agency has some resources to help.

U.S. Market Weekly Summary – Week Ending 02.15.2019

The Free Press WV

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.5% this week in a broad advance led by the energy and industrial sectors as investors were encouraged by signs of easing trade tensions between the US and China.

The market benchmark ended the week at 2,775.60, up from last week’s closing level of 2,707.88. The climb came as the US and China appeared to be moving closer to a trade agreement, agreeing to more talks next week in Washington following a week of talks in Beijing.

The energy sector had the largest percentage increase of the week, up 4.8%, followed by the industrial sector, up 3.5%. Materials and health care were also up by more than 3%. Just one sector ended the week in the red versus last Friday’s close: utilities, down 0.2%.

The jump in energy shares came as crude-oil futures were boosted not only by the hopes for improving trade relations with China but also amid an Energy Information Administration report showing total US oil imports fell to 6.2 million barrels a day last week, down by nearly 1 million barrels a day versus the week before. Investors took the report as a sign the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cutting production is following through on the pledge it made in late 2018 to cut production.

Among the energy sector’s gainers, shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) rose 5.0% this week as Macquarie upgraded its outlook on the oil company, citing its scale in the Permian, its larger Guyana opportunities and its expansion in natural gas.

In the industrial sector, gainers included Union Pacific (UNP), whose shares jumped 5.3% this week as a Stifel analyst said after a meeting with Rob Knight, the rail company’s chief financial officer, that its volumes are up so far in Q1 amid increases in shipments of industrial and premium goods.

In the utilities sector, which tends to move in the opposite direction as energy, decliners included Duke Energy (DUK), whose shares fell 3.1% this week amid the company’s report of weaker-than-expected Q4 adjusted earnings per share despite higher-than-expected revenue.

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