US retail sales increase in July
US retail sales rose in July for the first time in four months as demand climbed broadly for everything from cars to electronics, a sign that consumers could drive faster economic growth in the third quarter.
Retail sales rose 0.8 per cent last month, the Commerce Department said today.
A separate report showed US producer prices also climbed in July at the fastest pace in five months, although falling energy prices pointed to muted inflation pressures.
The gain in retail sales was the largest since February and well above analysts' expectations. Economists polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to rise 0.3 percent.
The report bolsters the view that the slowdown in economic growth during the second quarter will prove temporary.
It also offers some relief for president Barack Obama, whose November re-election bid has been hampered by a weak jobs market. Republican challenger Mitt Romney is focusing his campaign on the weak economy that has plagued Obama's presidency.
The retail sales and price data could also splash a bit of water on hopes the Federal Reserve could soon launch another bond-buying program to help the economy.
In July, sales of motor vehicles and parts rose 0.8 per cent. Receipts at electronics and appliance stores increased 0.9 per cent and sales of building materials were up 1 per cent. Excluding autos, sales climbed 0.8 percent.