Monday, October 15, 2018

© Reuters.  U.S. retail sales drop 0.2% in August, core sales increase 0.5%© Reuters. U.S. retail sales drop 0.2% in August, core sales increase 0.5% – Retail sales unexpectedly fell in August, underlining concern about consumer spending being able to push economic growth, official data showed on Friday.

In a report, the U.S. Commerce Department said that retail sales fell 0.2% in August from the prior month, below forecasts for a gain of 0.1%. July’s retail sales increased by 0.3% which was a downward revision from an initial 0.6% advance.

Rising retail sales over time correlate with stronger economic growth, while weaker sales signal a declining economy.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in August, missing consensus expectations for a 0.5% advance. Core sales in the prior month were also revised downwards to a 0.4% gain from the prior 0.5% increase.

Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of the government’s gross domestic product report. Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. economic growth.

After the report, which was released simultaneously with the NY Empire State manufacturing index, the dollar pushed lower. EUR/USD was trading at 1.1983 from around 1.1966 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.3607, compared to 1.3585 previously, while USD/JPY was at 110.93 from 111.09 earlier.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 91.63, compared to 91.72 ahead of the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a flat open. The Dow futures dropped 7 points or 0.03%, the S&P 500 futures slipped 3 points, or 0.11%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures fell 6 points, or 0.11%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,329.60 a troy ounce, compared to $1,329.26 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $49.98, compared to $50.09 prior to the release.

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