U.S. retail sales rose in December amid strong demand for automobiles and furniture, providing further evidence that the economy ended the fourth quarter with momentum and is poised for stronger growth this year. The strengthening economy also is starting to generate higher inflation. Other data on Friday showed a second straight monthly increase in producer prices in December, which led to the biggest year-on-year gain in just over two years.
There was quite a bit of economic data last week, and once again it was very mixed. While there were a few bright spots elsewhere, weak international trade numbers were reinforced by soft Chinese and U.S. Retail Sales figures.
The U.S. Federal Reserve has pulled back its forecasts of tighter monetary actions as the global economy is slowing down much faster than anticipated. Economic shocks in China and the continuing saga of the Brexit vote have put pressure on other central banks to act to avoid the pull of deflation of their economies.
U.S. retail sales were unexpectedly flat in July as Americans cut back on purchases of clothing and other goods, pointing to a moderation in consumer spending that could temper expectations of an acceleration in economic growth in the third quarter.