US retail sales up for second straight month

| July 14, 2009 | 0 Comments

The Commerce Department today announced a rise in US retail sales in June of 0.6% and follows on from the increase of 0.5% in May. Analysts had forecast a rise of 0.4% for the month.

Sales were driven by higher petrol costs, cars and car parts, when stripping out these items, sales declined 0.2% - the fourth consecutive fall.

In related news, the Labor Department said that US wholesale prices rose in June. Its Producer Price Index (PPI) gained 1.8%, while stripping out food and energy bills, core wholesale prices were up 0.5%.

Bret Barker of Metropolitan West Asset Management said: “Retail sales looked mixed, the auto sector had a huge month, but it is bouncing off the floor.”

However, many experts say consumers continue to rein in spending due to rising unemployment.

The latest figures from the US Labor Department revealed that the unemployment rate in the US rose from 9.4% in May to 9.5% in June.

While the rate of 9.5% was slightly lower than had been expected - it is still the highest since August 1983 with a total of 14.7 million people unemployed in June in the world‘s largest economy.

Yesterday, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said there is growing evidence that US and global economies were starting to recover.

Across the Atlantic, the British Retail Consortium and KPMG’s retail sales monitor revealed a rise in UK retail sales in June, primarily due to the good weather during the month.

Like-for-like sales rose 1.4% last month compared with June 2008 with non-food sales over the three months to June experiencing their best performance since October last year.

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