The U.S. retail sales data remains a thorn in America’s side with respect to declaring a return to full economic growth.
With an impressive job recovery underway, and the lower price of oil putting more bucks into U.S. consumers’ pockets, it has been an unexpected, if not disappointing, surprise that they are not spending. Oddly, American consumer confidence remains high.
Last month, the -0.1% figure of the core retail sales and the -0.6% raised eyebrows and questions about how even the recovery has been. The lower purchases in March marked the third consecutive decline. Cold weather is partly to blame for lack of shopping, but that should no longer factor into the equation now that spring has sprung stateside. There’s much hope the warmer weather thawed frozen American consumers enough to have a positive influence on the data, due to be released on April 14 at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Analysts have forecast an improvement of 0.7% on the core reading (excluding auto), and 1.1% for the headline retail sales figure itself.
Meanwhile, elections in the United Kingdom, and the ongoing saga that is Greece’s debt repayment mess, will continue to affect prices.