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US Retail Sales Disappoint; Crude Prices Up on Lower Production
Published March 14, 2018
The greenback is down this morning after retail sales came in lower than expected (0.2% vs. 0.4%). Retail sales numbers are an indicator of economic growth, particularly in the US where consumer household spending has fueled over 80% of total growth since the recovery began in 2009.
The soft retail sales print combined with yesterday’s tepid US inflation data has made it less likely that the Fed will increase rates more than 3 times in 2018.
The Trump administration has announced its intention to seek tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of imports from China, with a focus on the technology, telecom, and apparel sectors in an attempt to offset the US trade deficit with China, the latest move by Trump to combat globalization.
Oil prices are strong this morning after OPEC reported a drop in crude production in February, though the forecast for non-OPEC supply is expected to increase over the next year. WTI crude is up 0.50% to $61 with Brent crude up 0.23% to $64.79 at the time of writing.