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US Retail Sales Cool off Further in August

Retail sales plummeted during March and April, but came back strong in May and in June, posting a 17.7% and a 7.5% increase respectively for headline sales and a 12.4% in May and a 7.3% in June for core sales. But, they slowed in July at 1.2% and 1.9%. In August they were expected to cool off a bit more, but they were slashed in half, as the report below shows. The USD turned bearish again  after the soft figures from today’s report, which came at a bad time for the US, since it has been declining this week.

Advance US Retail Sales, August 2020

  • Retail sales advance 0.6% vs. 1.0% estimate. Prior revised to 0.9% from 1.2%.
  • Retail sales control group -0.1% vs. +0.3% estimate
  • Retail sales ex auto +0.7% vs. 1.0% estimate
  • Retail sales ex auto and gas +0.7% vs. 0.9% estimate
  • Sales excluding auto and building materials 0.5% vs. 1.7%
  • Sales excluding food services +0.1% vs. 0.5%
Disappointing numbers for retail sales. The control group retail sales (which excludes food services, car dealers building materials stores and gasoline stations)  is part of GDP calculation and thought to reflect underlying consumer demand, came in negative. Generally speaking consumers accounts for two thirds of US GDP.
Details of the Report:
  • gasoline sales +0.4% vs. July is up 4.4%
  • cars/parts sales +0.2% vs. July’s -1.0%
  • food and beverages -1.2% vs. +0.6%
  • furniture +2.1% vs. +0.9%
  • sporting-goods -5.7% vs. -5.3% last month
  • Gen. merchandise -0.4% vs. -1.1% last month. Department store sales fell -2.3% vs. 2.0% last month
  • eating and drinking increased to 4.7% vs. 4.1% last month
The supplemental jobless benefits expired last month which seem to have an impact on the numbers today. This may encourage lawmakers to come to an agreement on a new stimulus package.
Stocks have moved lower after the report with the Dow industrial average up 106 points. The NASDAQ index is up 35 points after being up around 55 points at the start of the New York session.
The USDJPY is trading to new session lows at 104.85 and continues its downward bias this week. The pair is down for the 3rd consecutive day. The range for the week is up to 130 pips after the non-trending 59 pips seen last week (the 2nd lowest calendar range for this year).


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Skerdian Meta
Lead Analyst
Skerdian Meta Lead Analyst. Skerdian is a professional Forex trader and a market analyst. He has been actively engaged in market analysis for the past 11 years. Before becoming our head analyst, Skerdian served as a trader and market analyst in Saxo Bank's local branch, Aksioner. Skerdian specialized in experimenting with developing models and hands-on trading. Skerdian has a masters degree in finance and investment.
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