U.S Retail Sales Edged Up by 0.1% in April – May Report

Retails and foods services sales changed direction and slightly rose for the fifth time in six months; the index edged up during April 2013 by 0.1% compared with March’s sales and also remained above the sales at April 2012.

The U.S. Department of Commerce (pdf file) published yesterday its monthly update on the developments in the U.S. retail and food sales for April 2013.

This report adjusts for seasonal variances and holidays but doesn’t control for price shifts. In April, the U.S. retail and food sales reached $419 billion, which is 0.1% above the sales in March and 3.7% above April 2012. This rise in retail sales might have slightly contributed to the modest gain in stocks on the first day of the week. Conversely, The gasoline stations sales were down by 4.7% in April compared to March and 4.6% below the sales in April 2012. This means the U.S demand for retail is slowing down; it also means demand for energy commodities is falling. This news may have also pulled down the prices of oil.

If the demand for gasoline will continue to shrink, it could signal a fall in demand for oil in the U.S and thus may pressure down the rate of crude oil. On the other hand, the recent moderate rise in the retail sales might suggest the U.S economy is slowly improving.

The major energy commodities prices declined yesterday; major U.S stock markets slightly rose; the USD was mostly traded up against leading currencies including the Aussie dollar and Euro. This could mean that the recent report regarding the modest gain in retail sales might have influenced traders in the U.S financial markets.

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