The US retail sales figures for August were released on Friday and came in below expectations. New data showed they rose by just 0.1% last month when analysts had forecast a 0.4% increase. It is the smallest gain for six months. However, it wasn’t all bad, as July’s figures were revised up to 0.7% from 0.5% (although you could argue this makes the drop even more alarming).
The other key release was the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index which showed that US consumers are more optimistic. The reading jumped to 100.8 in September from 96.2 the previous month and well above the 96.7 expected. It is the highest reading since March and is the second-highest level reached this year. The dollar made some gains against sterling and the euro but movements were fairly muted throughout the day.
There’s nothing of note on the schedule from America at the beginning of the week. On Thursday we will see existing home sales for August and initial jobless claims up to 15 September. Last week, they hit their lowest level since December 1969 so it will be interesting if the latest figures can beat that.
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