U.S Retail Sales Inched Up by 0.1% in January – February Report

Retails and foods services sales inched up again for the third consecutive month, during January 2013 by 0.1% compared with December’s sales and were also above the sales at January 2012.

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

This report adjusts for seasonal variances and holidays but doesn’t control for price changes. In January, the U.S. retail and food sales reached $416.6 billion, which is 0.1% above the sales in December and 4.4% above January 2012. The gasoline stations sales were up by 1.4% in January compared to December and 4.4% above the sales in January 2012. This shows a moderate gain in the U.S demand for retail and also a rise in demand for energy commodities.

If the demand for gasoline will continue to rise, it could signal a rise in the growing demand for oil in the U.S and thus may pull up the prices of oil. Moreover, 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 were little changes and the USD was modest traded down against leading currencies including the Aussie dollar and Canadian dollar. This could mean that the recent report regarding the modest gain in retail sales had a moderate effect on the U.S financial markets. the major exchange rates mostly  US dollar also decreased. This means, the news of the modest decline in gasoline stations sales may have had a moderate negative effect on energy prices.

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