US: Key economic events ahead - Westpac

Analysts at Westpac are out with a brief preview of the key macro events due on the cards from the US docket later today at 1330 GMT.

Key Quotes:

US Dec CPI: In November, headline inflation accelerated as gasoline prices jumped. Headline consumer prices gained 0.4% in the month and 2.2% over the year, up from 2.0%yr in October.

Core inflation however surprised to the downside, rising by just 0.1% as health care and clothing costs weighed. Annual core CPI inflation is currently at 1.7%yr, a level that has been maintained for the past six months.

Come December, a 0.2% rise in headline and core inflation is expected as energy price inflation abates and food remains broadly neutral. If the monthly gain comes in as expected, then annual core inflation will hold at its current level.”

“US Dec Retail sales: Retail sales lifted in November, rising 0.8% following a 0.4% gain in October. Part of the November increase was due to higher energy prices, with gasoline sales up 2.8%.

Growth in core sales was more modest but still solid at 0.4%. Annual growth in core sales stands at 5.0%yr, up from 3.5%yr a year ago. Conditions are supportive of continued robust growth in spending, given strong employment growth and high levels of confidence. Further, anecdotes from the Christmas period have been positive, albeit mixed by store type.

All told, we look for a 0.5% gain in headline sales and a slightly stronger outcome for the core series. Auto sales are likely to be a hindrance at the margin, while gasoline prices should have little to no impact in the month.”

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