U.S. Economy: retail sales remain flat, business inventories rise, number of mortgage applicants falls

The U.S. Commerce Department announced that retail sales were flat or up 0.0% in July, following a 0.8% increase in June.

The slowdown in retail sales in July was influenced by lower sales at service stations due to a slump in energy prices. Retail sales excluding motor vehicles, oil, building materials and food rose 0.8% after increasing 0.7% in June.

Business inventories rose 1.4% in June from the previous month, in line with analysts’ forecasts, following a 1.6% increase in May. Year-on-year, business inventories rose 18.5% in June.

Retail inventories rose by 2.0%, while wholesale inventories increased by 1.8%.

Business sales rose 1.3% after increasing 1.0% in May.

In addition, it takes 1.30 months for inventories to be depleted.

An increase in business inventories is indicative of the sector’s confidence that sales will increase in the coming months.

According to the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA), the number of mortgage applicants dropped 2% last week, even though the mortgage rate fell.

The number of refinancing applications fell by 5% last week and by 82% compared to the same period last year.

The number of home loan applicants fell 1% last week and was down 18% from the same period last year.

The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for loans up to $647,200 fell to 5.45% from 5.47% the previous week.

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