Bloomberg | Feb 15, 2020 01:24
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. retail sales rose in January for a fourth straight month as cheaper prices at the gas pump encouraged Americans to spend on other goods, underscoring steady consumer spending.
The value of overall sales climbed 0.3% after a downwardly revised 0.2% increase the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. Excluding receipts at filling stations, retail purchases increased 0.3%, the most in five months.
Steady demand at retailers indicates the consumer remains the economy’s key fuel source. Resilient hiring and wage growth are helping to boost both sentiment and spending. Economists forecast household outlays to increase in the first quarter at about the same pace as the end of 2019.
Meanwhile, economic risks remain with sluggish export markets, weak business spending and any fallout from the coronavirus.
One caveat in today's data was the “control group” subset of sales, which was unchanged in January after a downwardly revised 0.2% December gain. The measure excludes food services, car dealers, building-materials stores and gasoline stations, providing a reading that’s tied better to underlying consumer demand.
The retail sales report showed nine of 13 major categories increased, including the largest gains at building materials outlets and non-store merchants since August. Receipts at general merchandise stores were the strongest in six months, while sales at furniture and home furnishing stores were the best in four.
Sales retreated at electronics outlets, clothing stores and personal care shops.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in congressional testimony this week that there’s no reason that a scenario of generally strong job growth and rising wages can’t go on. Central bankers have held rates steady to extend the record-long expansion.
The labor market was stronger than expected in January, faster wage growth. At the same time, job openings fell to a two-year low in December, indicating employment growth may soon cool.
The Commerce Department's report showed gas-station receipts declined 0.5% on lower fuel prices, the report showed. Consumer price index data on Thursday showed gasoline costs tumbled last month.
Sales at car dealers rose 0.2% in January. Excluding automobiles and gasoline, retail sales advanced 0.4% after a 0.5% gain the previous month.
A separate Labor Department report Friday showed the U.S. import price index was unchanged in January from the prior month and up 0.3% from a year earlier, indicating tame inflation.
Written By: Bloomberg
Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
Get free real time quotes, charts and alerts on stocks, indices, currencies, commodities and bonds. Get free top of the line technical analysis/predictors.
More content, faster quotes and charts, and a smoother experience is available only on the App.