The United States remained the nation most affected by the coronavirus which took the largest toll of 245,000 lives since outbreak and number of confirmed cases of more than 11.2 million. While coronavirus cases have risen rapidly since late September, prompting many U.S. states to take more restrictions, financial markets have been concerned about the latest retail sales figures. They pointed to a demand decline, which is the U.S. economy’s key engine.
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In October, therefore, retail sales rose by 0.3 percent compared to September and against a consensus of 0.4 percent. This highlights a sharp slowdown compared to September, where they had jumped by 1.6 percent which has also revised down on Tuesday.
In October, retail sales excluding those from automobile industry, rose by just 0.2 percent compared to a consensus of 0.5 percent and 1.2 percent a month ago. The rise in U.S. consumption excluding cars and gasoline was also limited to 0.2 percent in October, compared to a consensus of 0.6 percent.
In the US, October import rates, which were also just released, were down 0.1 percent compared to the previous month, compared to a 0.2 percent consensus. Year-on-year they are down 1 percent. Compared to September, October’s export prices were up 0.2 percent, but down 1.6 percent year on year.
On the other hand, in October, industrial output recovered more than expected, by 1.1 percent on a month-on-month basis against a 1 percent consensus, and after a decline of 0.4 percent in September. Comparing to a consensus of 0.9 percent, manufacturing production increased by 1 percent. The production capacity utilization rate was 72.8 percent against a 72.2 percent consensus.
Finally, the real estate market index of the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) also raised more than expected, to 90 in November, against a market consensus of 85 and 85 in October.