U.S. retail sales rose less than forecast in September, as a broad-based increase was overshadowed by a drop in restaurant receipts that may reflect the impact of Hurricane Florence.
The value of overall sales rose 0.1 percent for a second month, compared with the median forecast of economists for a 0.6 percent gain, Commerce Department figures showed Monday. So- called retail control-group sales -- which are used to calculate gross domestic product and exclude food services, auto dealers, building-materials stores and gasoline stations -- climbed 0.5 percent, slightly more than estimated.
While purchases at food-services and drinking establishments fell 1.8 percent, the most since 2016, most other major retail categories showed a gain, suggesting consumption ended the quarter on a solid note. That indicates the biggest part of the economy will withstand the recent stock-market slide amid low unemployment and tax cuts that have boosted take-home pay.
Shopping and consumer activities such as restaurant visits may have been affected in North Carolina and South Carolina in the aftermath of Florence, which made landfall on Sept. 14. At the same time, past experience indicates any negative fallout tends to be temporary and reverses in subsequent months.
Steady economic growth and gradual gains in inflation have reinforced investor bets that the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates in December for the fourth hike this year, and stay on a tightening path in 2019.
Source : Bloomberg