The Globe and Mail reports in its Thursday, Nov. 16, edition that U.S. retail sales fell for the first time in seven months in October as motor vehicle purchases and spending on hobbies dropped, pointing to slowing demand at the start of the fourth quarter that further strengthened expectations the Federal Reserve is done hiking interest rates.
A Reuters dispatch to The Globe reports that the downturn was supported by other data on Wednesday showing the biggest decline in producer prices in 3-1/2 years in October on the back of cheaper gasoline. The reports followed on the heels of news on Tuesday that consumer prices were unchanged last month for the first time in more than a year.
The data, combined with a cooling labour market, led economists to conclude that the U.S. central bank's current rate hiking cycle was over. Still, there is no sign that the economy is sliding into recession. The drop in sales in October was less than expected and followed three straight months of hefty gains.
"Signs of moderating consumer demand and inflation argue for an extended Fed pause," said Lydia Boussour, senior economist at EY-Parthenon in New York. "While we believe the Fed is done raising interest rates, the bar is still high for rate cuts."
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