US Retail Sales Auger Slowing Growth Ahead?


Retail sales data in the United States showed anemic percentage gains in November, economic data that alongside declines in industrial production may auger some slowing economic growth.

As reported by Reuters, retail sales grew by only 10 basis points on the month, with some cutbacks in spending on bigger ticket items such as vehicles, a notable overall slowdown from the 60 basis point gain seen in October. The Commerce Department, which released that data, also said that sales gained 3.8 percent year over year. Stripping away the impact of gasoline purchases, building materials and a few other segments, sales were still up 0.1 percent in the period (this is known as core retail sales). The core data missed economists’ expectations for a 30-basis-point rise.

Separately, and in another report, industrial production sipped 40 basis points, led by a 4.4 drop in utilities output. That drop was tied to warmer weather and a concurrent slip in heating demand. Manufacturing demand declined by less than 1 percent as vehicle production fell. The Commerce Department also said that business inventories dropped by the most in almost a year in the 11 months leading up to October.

Taken together, said the newswire, the data indicate that the 3.2 percent annualized GDP growth rate in July through September may be slowing. In response to the latest data, the Atlanta Fed took down growth estimates for the fourth quarter by 20 basis points to a 2.4 percent annualized rate.