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December 27, 2017

Cowbell: Consumer Spending Beats Forecasts; Holiday Retail Sales Jump 4.9%, Biggest Rise Since 2011

Consumer spending -- a key proxy for consumer confidence -- beat the projections, which already predicted a rise.

Alas, more money chasing the same number of goods will spark some inflation.

Incomes rose as well, another factor for increased inflation.

U.S. consumer spending rose more than forecast in November and the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge advanced to an eight-month high, signs of economic vitality that should keep the central bank on track to raise interest rates gradually in 2018.

Purchases rose 0.6 percent after a 0.2 percent advance that was less than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.5 percent gain. Incomes rose 0.3 percent, slightly below projections, though the three-month gain was the fastest since early 2017.

The boost in consumer spending continued through the holidays:

U.S. year-end holiday retail sales rose 4.9% compared to the same period last year, a welcome gift to U.S. retailers amid new signs of consumer confidence.

Online retail shopping similarly increased 18.1%, while overall consumer buying during the holiday period set a record for dollars spent, according to the sales report issued by Mastercard SpendingPulse.

"Overall, this year was a big win for retail," Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights, Mastercard, said in a statement issued with the report. "The strong U.S. economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase."



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posted by Ace at 04:03 PM

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