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