United States: Retail sales growth moderates notably in February
Retail sales increased 0.3% in month-on-month seasonally-adjusted terms in February, which was softer than January’s 4.9% jump. February’s moderation was primarily due to a weaker rise in purchases of automobiles, while purchases of food and beverages declined relative to the previous month.
On an annual basis, retail sales rose 17.6% in February, which was up from January’s 14.0% expansion. Meanwhile, annual average retail sales growth rose to 20.7% in February (January: +19.8%).
Commenting on the latest print with regards to the monetary policy outlook, Katherine Judge, senior economist at CIBC World Markets, noted:
“The January revisions show that the US economy was even more resilient during Omicron than thought, and add to the urgency for Fed rate hikes, as we expect the weak goods print for February to be offset by renewed demand for services as Omicron faded. The control group of sales is still 16% above where its pre-pandemic trend growth rate would have put it as of February, and we expect that degree of excess on the goods side of the economy to be pared back as services demand accelerates.”