U.S. Retail Sales Top Forecasts, Bolstering Economic Pickup

Galtero Lara
Junio 14, 2018

Overall retail sales rose 0.8 percent from the prior month, double the consensus economic estimate of 0.4 percent, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday.

Retail sales are closely watched by economists because they provide an early read on consumer spending, the principal driver of the US economy. April's sales growth was revised higher, from 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent. Retail sales in May increased 5.9 percent from a year ago.

The retail "control group" sales, which excludes some of the more volatile numbers, rose 0.5 percent, which also exceeded forecasts. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News earlier this month saw gross domestic product expanding at a 3.3 percent pace this quarter, up from 2.2 percent in the previous three months.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday for the second time this year. The Fed said "economic activity has been rising at a solid rate" and "growth of household spending has picked up".

Consumers are very confident about the USA economy, buoyed by steady job gains, an unemployment rate at an 18-year low, and the Trump administration's tax cuts.

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The strong retail sales report added to data ranging from the labor market to manufacturing and trade in suggesting the economy was regaining momentum in the second quarter after growth slowed at the start of the year amid a sharp step-down in consumer spending.

Healthier consumer spending is boosting the economy after a sluggish first quarter. Filling-station receipts in May increased 2 percent, the most since November, reflecting a jump in fuel prices that are near the highest level since 2014.

Despite rising gas prices, Americans spent more at restaurants and bars, as well as at clothing stores, with sales rising 1.3 percent for both.

Sales at building material stores rebounded 2.4 percent last month after declining 0.8 percent in April.

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