US retail sales blew past projections of 0.2% gains in June, coming in at 0.4% gain following a downwardly revised 0.4% gain the month prior. Sales excluding volatile components also exceeded expectations, and this is seen as a more accurate gauge of consumer demand.
- Retail sales came in at 0.4% vs. 0.2% expected for June.
- Sales excluding food services, car dealers, building materials stores, and gasoline stations rose 0.7%, indicating healthy consumer demand.
- Excluding the volatile components of autos and gasoline, retail sales also rose 0.7%.
11 out of 13 major retail categories saw gains in June, led by a 1.7% increase in non-store retailers including online retailers. Electronics and appliance stores, as well as gasoline stations, are the two categories that fell last month. Gas station receipts dropped -2.8%, the biggest decrease since December, with gasoline prices falling in both May and June.
Car dealers saw a 0.7% rise, the same as the month prior. A separate report released on Tuesday by the Labor Department indicates that import prices dropped 0.9% in June from the month before, and export prices fell 0.7%. Sales at department stores dropped -1.1% after a 0.6% drop the month before.
Not all household purchases are included in retail sales data, and the readings tend to be volatile. Personal spending figures due out at the end of the month will create a more full gauge of consumption data.
Retail Sales Summary pic.twitter.com/nB5aTAc1rU
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The spike in sales lends credence to statements made by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who said that consumer spending and finances remain healthy thanks to a tight labor market and an ongoing economic expansion, even as certain aspects of the economy undergo turbulence.
The sales data may muddy the waters in the upcoming fiscal policy meeting scheduled for July 30-31, where Fed policymakers will decide whether or not to implement interest rate cuts to mitigate the effects of unfavorable economic conditions. Headwinds from a global economic slowdown and continued trade tensions along with sub-expectation inflation pressure are among the factors which would lead the Fed to vote for rate cuts, but the sales data supports the opposite side of the debate.
However, recent statements from Powell firmly indicate that the Fed is about to cut rates for the first time in over ten years
Gold prices faced some selling pressure following the unexpectedly strong sales report. Spot gold is now trading at $1,411.07/oz and up 0.08% on the day with a range of $1,418.14/oz at the high end and $1,408.17/oz at the low.
Spot gold is currently trading at the lowest end of today’s range, still tested by downward momentum following today’s sales news.