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Gold Price Calculators

US Retail Sales Climb for Second Straight Month, April Figures Revised Higher

US retail sales saw gains in May with increases in spending on autos, electronic gadgets and appliances. The Commerce Department released a statement saying that headlines rose 0.5% for the month of May vs. a 0.3% rise in April which was revised upward from -0.2% decline.

Key Takeaways

  • Retail sales rose for the second month in a row in May with 0.5% gains, slightly below expectations of 0.6%.
  • April figures were revised upward from -0.2% to 0.3%.

Core sales which eliminate the volatile components of petrol and building materials rose 0.5%, higher than the expected 0.4% gain. Sales have been volatile this year, rising in January and dipping in February before hitting the biggest gain seen in 18 months in March.

Auto sales rose 0.7% in May after dropping 0.5% in April, and receipts at service stations rose 0.3%. Building materials and garden equipment sales climbed 0.1%, and online or mail-order purchases saw a 1.45 increase. There was no change in sales at clothing stores, and furniture outlets reported a 0.1% increase.  Sales at bars and restaurants increased 0.7% last month, while those at hobby, musical instrument and book stores rose 1.1%. 

Annually, retail sales rose 3.1% in May.

May sale reports may ease concerns of an economic slowdown amid the escalating trade conflict between the US and China, although the volatility of 2019 has made it difficult to gauge sentiment. The figures may impact Q2 GPD projections which so far have been under 2% growth compared to 3.1% in Q1.

Expert Outlook

“Decent US retail sales numbers suggest consumers are shrugging off the negative trade headlines and support our view that markets may be too aggressive in their interest rate cut expectations,” said James Knightley, chief international economist at ING

Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell recently indicated that the Fed is ready to cut interest rates if necessary, and would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” in response to the trade war and other headwinds.

Market Reaction

Spot gold prices are higher today at $1,347.80/oz with a 0.64% increase, a high of $1,357.28/oz and a low of $1,339.83/oz. Prices are near a yearly high, influenced by a strong risk-off sentiment in the markets.

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