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August Retail Sales Flat, Inventories Falling

Driven by high unemployment and restrained income growth, U.S. retail sales in August were stagnant, reported Bloomberg.

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From Tire Review

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Driven by high unemployment and restrained income growth, U.S. retail sales in August were stagnant, reported Bloomberg.

Retail sales stayed level with July results, which were just 0.3 percent better than estimated by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Producer prices were also unchanged in August, Bloomberg reported, even as costs for food and fuel increased less than forecast.

“The dim outlook for household spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, will make it harder for the two-year old recovery to gain speed, giving the Federal Reserve reason to take additional steps to spur growth,” Bloomberg’s report said.

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“The median forecast of retail sales by 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.2 percent rise” in August, Bloomberg reported. “Estimates ranged from a gain of 0.7 percent to a decline of 0.5 percent. The Commerce Department revised the July increase down from a previously reported 0.5 percent advance.”

Automobile purchases fell 0.3 percent in August after rising 0.2 percent in July, the Commerce Department report said. Cars and light trucks sold at a 12.1 million annual rate in August, down from a 12.5 million pace in the first half of the year, Bloomberg said.

A separate Commerce Department report showed inventories rose less than forecast in July, “indicating companies are bracing for a slowdown in demand,” Bloomberg said. July’s 0.4 percent inventory increase was level with June’s gain, which was larger than estimated.

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