As world growth appears to be slowing an awful lot is riding on US retail sales, unfortunately.
Retail sales growth has weakened since the post winter bounce earlier in 2014. Excluding motor vehicles and parts the picture is weaker still. The only bright spot is falling inflation, but only on a shorter term view. Retail and food sales per capita adjusted for CPI are not much higher than they were in 1999.
Retail sales fell in December from November on a seasonally adjusted basis. In fact retail sales growth has been declining since the post 2014 winter bounce.
What if we focus on capacity (what people have spent over an extended time frame can give a better indication of expenditure capacity) and smooth the data (take rolling average of last six months expenditure)? We find that retail sales are still on a downward trend.
Falling inflation seems to be one bright spot, as adjusted for CPI, smoothed data is showing a rising trend.
If we look at annual retail sales excluding motor vehicles and parts we see very constrained picture:
Motor vehicles and parts have been a bright spot, but so has non revolving loan growth:
Even if we look at unadjusted data as some have suggested, we see a weak retail sales picture.
Quarterly retail sales growth ex MVPs also shows significant weakness!
And just a final look at the inflation adjusted picture..better than the nominal…