Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in March

New Zealand exports less in goods than it imports from the US but the opposite is true of services

Retail trade sales were up 0.6% from February 2018, and 4.7% above previous year.

According the National Retail Federation (NRF), total retail sales in March increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted over February and 5.0% year-over-year. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a 0.3% increase.

Electronics and appliance stores were up 1.6 percent year-over-year and up 0.5 percent from February seasonally adjusted. The results reinforce a Federal Reserve prediction that the declines were transitory, following increased spending after two hurricanes that struck the United States past year. On a year-on-year basis, building material sales rose a sound 5.3 percent year-on-year, and the fall in March probably reflects a give back after post-hurricane rebuilding activity in earlier months, noted TD Economics in a research report. For the year, that category enjoyed an increase of 0.8 percent in sales.

Consumer optimism is high due to factors like job market strength, rising wages, lower taxes and the receipt of tax refunds.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of USA economic activity, grew at a robust 4.0 percent annualised rate in the fourth quarter.

USA pastor held in Turkey for his Christian faith, lawyer says
Monday's court session will be attended by North Carolina senator Thom Tillis and USA envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback. But Bozdag insisted Turkey's longstanding opposition to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had not changed.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were up 0.7% from February seasonally adjusted and up 4.1% year-over-year.

Even with the bounceback, consumer spending probably expanded at a slower pace in the first quarter.

The data on Monday also showed that a decline in gasoline costs, as reported last week in the Labor Department's consumer-price index, may have weighed on filling-station receipts.

Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 6.1% year-over-year but down 0.8% from February seasonally adjusted.

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