Hopes were high heading into today’s U.S. Retail Sales report, with analysts expecting that the primary measure of the consumers’ health would bounce back to 1.0% m/m after three consecutive declines of more than -0.5%.
U.S. retail sales rose in March for the first time since late last year as consumers stepped up purchases of automobiles and other goods, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter was temporary.
Early North American trade has been riveting thus far as equities are turning higher, the euro has bounced somewhat after falling below 1.05, and the U.S. dollar isn’t faring as well as it has so far this week.
U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell for a third straight month in February likely as harsh weather kept consumers from automobile showrooms and shopping malls, which could hurt growth prospects for the first quarter.
For the U.S. consumer the economic boost provided by lower gasoline costs is hitting at the perfect time. The Federal Reserve just ended their extensive QE stimulus program at the end of October with hope the economy could stand on its own.