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Resilient US Consumer Spending Defies Slowdown Fears

U.S. retail sales experienced their most robust growth in three months this December, concluding a robust holiday season and indicating continued consumer resilience as the new year approaches. Data from the Commerce Department revealed a 0.6% increase over the month and 5.6% year-over-year in the value of retail purchases. Sales, excluding automobiles, climbed by 0.4%.


Growth was reported in nine out of thirteen categories, with the most pronounced increases observed in the clothing, general merchandise stores—including department stores—and e-commerce sectors. These latest figures underscore that consumer spending has remained robust and consistently surpassed expectations throughout 2023, even amidst heightened concerns of a marked economic slowdown. Our Take: Consumer pockets are still filled with excess savings and the strong labour market keeps confidence high. This is certainly not an environment where agressive rate cuts are necessary or needed. On the contrary, it shows that prematurely easing monetary policy could make the job much harder further out.


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