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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Bad Medicine: November Retail Sales and PPI

• Market-ticker.org
 
Truth: Auto sales, building materials and garden supplies, gasoline, sporting goods and food service places (restaurants) were all down on an unadjusted basis. The two "gotchas" in here are gasoline, which has had gross sales down even though gas prices are up, and dining and drinking, which were down despite the holiday season during the Black Friday weekend when they should have been up due to all the people shopping. The problem remains cost-push. I've noted that restaurants have been sneakily-increasing prices. They're pulling add-ons into ala-carte (e.g. sides that used to be included with the main course) and ratcheting up prices a bit. Gasoline has been on a tear comparatively, yet gross spend on gasoline is down. This strongly implies that we've reached the point where price influences behavior. The PPI was also out this morning and confirmed: The Producer Price Index for Finished Goods rose 0.8 percent in November, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This increase followed a 0.4-percent advance in both October and September. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods climbed 1.1 percent in November, and the crude goods index moved up 0.6 percent. Great. More than 9% annualized. But there is no inflation, right? And where is it? Food and energy, as I've been talking about.

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