Wednesday, 16 September 2009

US retail sales jump in August

The US economic recovery appears to be gaining momentum with the consumer coming back strongly in August. Bloomberg reports:

Sales at U.S. retailers surged in August by the most in three years, showing unexpected strength in consumer demand that extended beyond auto purchases spurred by the government’s “cash-for-clunkers” program.

The 2.7 percent increase exceeded economists’ forecasts and followed a 0.2 percent drop in July, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Purchases excluding automobiles climbed 1.1 percent, topping the highest forecast...

Business inventories declined 1 percent in July, exceeding economists’ forecasts, to $1.33 trillion, the lowest level since March 2006, a Commerce Department report showed today. Sales climbed 0.1 percent after a 1.1 percent gain in June.

Manufacturing in the New York region grew in September at the fastest pace in almost two years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The New York Fed’s general economic index increased to 18.9 from 12.1 in August, the bank said today.

However, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke continued to sound cautious at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Even though from a technical perspective the recession is very likely over at this point, it’s still going to feel like a very weak economy for some time,” he said.

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