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Monday, July 12, 2010

Economic Roundup: July 12, 2010

 

 

 

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Consumer credit was down for the month of May, despite low interest rates, the Federal Reserve reported in its latest findings released last week.
 
Consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 4.5 percent for the month, with revolving debt, such as credit cards, dropping 10.5 percent and non-revolving debt, such as car loans, decreasing by 1.5 percent.
 
Total outstanding consumer debt, excluding mortgages, went from $2.42 trillion in April to $2.41 trillion by the end of May. The $9.1 billion plunge was considerably larger than many economists had expected, and marked the 15th monthly decline over a stretch of 17 months.
 
Meanwhile, retailers reported mixed performance at the cash register for June. Sales at retail stores open for at least a year jumped by 3.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters's monthly survey of 28 major national retailers. The increase was slightly below expectations, and hinted at a slower pace for economic recovery.
 
Overall, Thomson Reuters reported that 56 percent of retailers missed their expectations, reflecting increased caution on the part of buyers.
 
"Department stores benefited toward the end of the month from the excess heat across the country, particularly in the Northeast but also out West," Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, told Bloomberg. "Results were clearly mixed, and there was selective buying going on."
 
Department stores and chains aimed at younger buyers led the month in sales with warmer weather and summer sales promotions. Strong performers included Nordstrom Inc. with a 14.1 percent sales increase; Abercrombie & Fitch Co. with a 9 percent increase; Aeropostale with an 8 percent gain; Macy's Inc. with a 6.5 percent gain; Kohl's Corp. with a rise 5.9 percent; and J.C. Penney Co. with a 4.5 percent gain.
 
This week, look for news on retail sales (July 14), business inventories (July 14), and export and import prices (July 14) from the Census Bureau; the producer price index (July 15) and the consumer price index (July 16) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and industrial production (July 15) from the Federal Reserve.
 

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