U.S. Retail Sales Fall For Second Straight Month U.S. retail sales fell for the second straight month in March, marking the worst two-month stretch for the consumer-spending gauge in more than two years.
Sales at U.S. stores, restaurants and online retailers decreased 0.2% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $470.84 billion in March, the Commerce Department said Friday. February sales were revised down to a 0.3% decrease from an initial estimate of a 0.1% gain. (…)
Excluding both autos and gasoline, sales were up 0.1% last month. (…) Sales at restaurants and bars fell 0.6% in March.
The consumer-price index, which measures what Americans pay for everything from chewing gum to haircuts, declined a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in March from the prior month, the Labor Department said Friday. Excluding the often-volatile categories of food and energy, so-called core prices fell 0.1% from February. (…)
Consumer prices rose 2.4% in March from a year earlier, down from 2.7% annual growth in February. Core prices were up 2.0% on the year, the weakest annual reading since November 2015. (…)
Also on Friday, the Labor Department said average weekly earnings for private-sector workers, adjusted for inflation, rose 0.5% in March from the prior month. The increase reflected rising wages, falling prices and a steady average workweek. (…)
U.S. Producer Prices Down 0.1% in March A gauge of U.S. business prices fell in March, underscoring modest inflation pressures throughout the economy.
The producer-price index for final demand, measuring changes in the prices that U.S. companies receive for their goods and services, declined a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in March from the prior month, the Labor Department said Thursday. The first decrease since August in large part stemmed from a monthly step-back in energy prices. (…) From a year earlier, producer prices advanced 2.3%, the biggest year-over-year rise in five years.
(…) excluding often-volatile prices for food and energy, the producer-price index was up 1.6% from a year earlier. When excluding food, energy and a jumpy measure of wholesaler and retailer margins known as trade services, prices climbed 1.7% on the year. (…)
Energy prices, down 2.9% from the prior month, drove the change in headline PPI. From a year earlier, though, energy prices climbed 15.2% in March. (…)
“With major moves in prices at the producer level necessary to spark significant shifts in prices at the consumer level, we do not believe there is any cause for alarm whatsoever from recent PPI data,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR. (…)
Hmmm…look at this Haver Analytics table: the drop in March is from Energy and Services, the latter having risen at a 4.3% annualized rate in Jan-Feb. Core goods PPI is up 3.7% a.r. in last 3 months while Intermediate Processed Goods are up 2.4% a.r and +r.3% YoY. Goods inflation’s death announcement has been exaggerated…
Forecasters Trim U.S. Growth Outlook as Hopes for Quick Stimulus Fade More forecasters are reconsidering their bullish outlooks for the U.S. economy as doubts grow over the extent to which President Donald Trump will be able to implement his agenda, the latest WSJ economic survey found.
(…) In December, the average forecast called for 2.3% growth in the first quarter. That had fallen to 1.9% in March and dipped again to 1.4% in this month’s survey. (…)
In January, 71% of economists in the Journal’s survey were including significant fiscal policy changes in their forecasts. In April, that number was down to 44%. A majority now say “significant” changes are unlikely, although many said a small fiscal boost remains possible. (…) In April, 46% of forecasters saw greater upside risks, compared with 62% last month. (…)