US retail sales up in July but confidence at 30-year low

| August 13, 2011
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The Commerce Department has revealed a rise in US retail sales for the month of July.

Sales grew 0.5% last month – the best reading since March and follows June’s upwardly revised figure of a 0.3% rise.

The rise, which was better than forecasts of a 0.2% gain, was partly attributed to strong demand for electronics and appliance stores, where sales rose 1.4%.

The figures suggest a recovery in consumer spending – a key driver of economic growth in the US.

However, there was some bad news from the world’s largest economy after the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed consumer confidence dived to 54.9 in August from July’s reading of 63.7 – representing the lowest level since May 1980.

The preliminary August reading was much lower than expectations of a level of 63.

However, it must be noted that the survey was conducted during the tense negotiations between the President and Congress over raising the debt ceiling.

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