Dollar hits highs after jump in USA retail sales data

Posted August 17, 2017

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, increased at a 2.8 per cent annualised rate in the second quarter.

Overall retail sales increase 0.6% from June.

From May through July, home furnishings store sales saw a 4.9% increase from the same three months last year at a 1.7% increase from February through April of this year.

The strong auto sales came despite industry reports which showed vehicle and truck sales fell six per cent from July 2016.

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"American shoppers flocked to the malls and even department stores in July, suggesting consumers are well-positioned to propel the economy forward in the second half of the year", said Sal Guatieri, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto.

The print for June was originally pegged at a 0.1% dip on the month.

A mysterious decline in spending at the end of the second quarter, meanwhile, vanished after fresh government revisions based on newly incorporated sales data.

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Nonstore Retailers were up 11.5% from July 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 8.3% from previous year.

Long-suffering department stores likewise showed signs of life. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation's economy.

Sales in July were the highest since December. Sales at online retailers vaulted 1.3 per cent in July, the largest gain since December 2016, likely buoyed by Amazon.com's Prime Day promotion. Commerce Department figures aren't adjusted for prices, so cheaper fuel costs depress results. The general trend of retail sales still remains worrying, despite the improvement over the last couple of months and 2% inflation still looks a pipe dream.

Sales at electronic stores also fell slightly, but in all likelihood consumers merely shifted purchases to online retailers such as Amazon.

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