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.
Curiously, in the face of a lack of price pressures, consumers still can’t shake off the fear of returning inflation. The latest survey revealed consumers expect an inflation rate of 3% in the next year, the highest reading since September, and 2.8% over the next 5-to-10 years.
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.