U.S. retail sales fell in March from February by the most in nine months, indicating higher taxes and weak hiring have made consumers more cautious about spending.
The Commerce Department says retail sales declined a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent last month. That followed a 1 percent gain in February. Both February and January’s figures were revised lower.
Consumers cut back across a wide range of categories. Sales at auto dealers dropped 0.6 percent. Gas station sales dropped 2.2 percent, partly reflecting lower prices. The retail sales figures aren’t adjusted for price changes.
As we have said all along, the US consumer – that very levered driver of 70% of US GDP – even when factoring in the trillion + in student loans, is getting very much tapped out.
Wholesale prices fell a sharper-than-expected 0.6% in March after seasonable adjustments, with energy prices falling 3.4%, the Labor Department reported Friday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected a 0.3% fall in the headline PPI. The producer price index has risen 1.1% in the past year, the smallest increase in eight months, the government said. The core PPI – which excludes food and energy prices – rose 0.2% in March, in line with expectations. Core prices are up 1.7% in the past year. The PPI had risen 0.7% in February, while the core rate was up 0.2%.
Retail sales slid in March even though producer prices recorded their biggest drop in 10 months as the cost of gasoline tumbled
A measure of wholesale prices fell by the largest amount in 10 months in March, reflecting a big drop gasoline prices.The Labor Department says its producer price index fell 0.6 percent in March compared with February. In February, wholesale prices had jumped 0.7…
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