U.S. Retail Sales Grow Less Than Expected, Initial Jobless Claims Higher Again, and Business Inventories Rise More Than Expected

Retail sales in the US rose by only 0.5% month-on-month in March, following a 0.8% increase in February. Analysts had previously expected growth of 0.6%.

However, core retail sales, which exclude auto sales, rose 1.1% in March from 0.6% in February.

The export price index rose 4.5% month-over-month in March versus 3% in February. The import price index rose 2.6% month-over-month in March, compared with a 1.6% increase in February. Both readings were above analysts’ expectations, who had expected a much smaller increase in both readings.

Initial jobless claims rose again to 185k from 167k the previous week. Previously, an increase of 171k had been expected.

Business inventories rose another 1.5% month-over-month in February, following a 1.3% increase the prior month. Retail inventories (excluding autos) rose 1.4% in February, up from 1.8% the previous month.

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