• Retails sales unexpectedly dropped 1.2% in December, sales ex-autos plunged 1.8%
  • The 'control group', GDP component fell 1.7%
  • MasterCard and the Redbook Survey reported higher sales, Amazon record purchases

The December retail sales report from the US Census Bureau has generated a fair amount of doubt among analysts about the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the statistics. 

The headline sales figure came in at -1.2% far below the expected 0.2%  gain for the largest single month fall since September 2009.  Sales ex-autos was -1.8% on a 0.1% forecast.

The so-called control group which excludes building materials, motor vehicle and gasoline purchases and food service and is the consumption component of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ GDP calculation fell 1.7% far below the 0.4% median forecast. That is the second biggest monthly drop in the series which goes back to 1992.

Reuters

Private sector sales data was in sharp contrast to the government figures.

The weekly Redbook index for same store sales rose 6% each week in December. The 9.3% annual gain in same store sales in the last week of 2018 was the largest on record.   The Redbook survey charts sales at existing retail outlets which comprise over 80% of the Commerce Department’s retail sales report. 

Amazon the world’s largest internet retailer also reported record holiday purchases. That simply doesn’t jibe with the government statistics that non-store sales, that is internet sales, fell nearly 3.9% in December.

MasterCard noted that card account purchases were up 5.1% in December over the prior year.

It is possible that the rising success of  Black Friday sales which promote the day after Thanksgiving as the start of the holiday shopping season with extensive discounts has pulled Christmas purchases forward, leaving less need for a rousing December. Control group purchases were a revised up to 1% in November from 0.9%, which was the strongest month since February 2014.

According to the Census statistics every category of sales except automobile dealers and building supply stores fell in December.

The Commerce Department, home of the US Census Bureau which collected the data, said in  its press release that "data collection and processing were delayed." Whether this means information was not forthcoming in time for inclusion or retailers, given the delay incorporated December data in to January numbers is not known. The simple fact that the collection process was affected by the shutdown makes a wary approach prudent.

While it seems unlikely that a robust job market, rising wages and employment would produce such a dismal holiday season we will have to wait for the revised numbers for the final judgement.

 

 

Information on these pages contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets. You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions. FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes, errors, or material misstatements. It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature. Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk, including the loss of all or a portion of your investment, as well as emotional distress. All risks, losses and costs associated with investing, including total loss of principal, are your responsibility. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FXStreet nor its advertisers. The author will not be held responsible for information that is found at the end of links posted on this page.

If not otherwise explicitly mentioned in the body of the article, at the time of writing, the author has no position in any stock mentioned in this article and no business relationship with any company mentioned. The author has not received compensation for writing this article, other than from FXStreet.

FXStreet and the author do not provide personalized recommendations. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of this information. FXStreet and the author will not be liable for any errors, omissions or any losses, injuries or damages arising from this information and its display or use. Errors and omissions excepted.

The author and FXStreet are not registered investment advisors and nothing in this article is intended to be investment advice.

Feed news Join Telegram

Recommended Content


Recommended Content

Editors’ Picks

EUR/USD falls below 1.0500 after US NFP data

EUR/USD falls below 1.0500 after US NFP data

EUR/USD dropped below 1.0450 but managed to stage a modest rebound. The US Dollar preserves its strength against its rivals and doesn't allow the pair to gain traction after the data from the US showed that Nonfarm Payrolls rose by 263,000 in November.

EUR/USD News

GBP/USD turns south on upbeat US jobs report, trades below 1.2200

GBP/USD turns south on upbeat US jobs report, trades below 1.2200

GBP/USD lost nearly 100 pips with the immediate reaction to the upbeat November jobs report from the US and broke below 1.2200. The US Dollar Index clings to strong daily gains above 105.00 after the data showed that Nonfarm Payrolls rose by 263,000.

GBPUSD News

Gold retreats below $1,790 as US yields surge on US NFP

Gold retreats below $1,790 as US yields surge on US NFP

Gold price turned south and dropped below $1,790 in the early American session. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond yield is up more than 2% on the day near 3.6% after the bigger-than-expected November job growth, weighing heavily on XAU/USD.

Gold News

FTX exchange collapse, loss of $3.1 billion could have been avoided on one condition

FTX exchange collapse, loss of $3.1 billion could have been avoided on one condition

FTX exchange, founded by Samuel Bankman-Fried (SBF), has consistently made headlines over the past month for its liquidity crisis and triggering a collapse in the crypto ecosystem.

Read more

AMC advances more than 3% in premarket day after being halted

AMC advances more than 3% in premarket day after being halted

AMC stock is up 3.4% in Friday's premarket just a day after authorities halted trading due to unusual volatility. Thursday saw options volume three times higher than the 20-day average.

Read more

Majors

Cryptocurrencies

Signatures