US retail sales only rose 0.1% in October

US retail sales rose a modest 0.1% in October, missing economists’ expectations of a 0.3% rise.

Total retail sales for the month were $447.3 billion.

Gasoline prices declined 0.9% and automobile sales slid by 0.5% in October.

Excluding volatile autos and gas, sales increased 0.3%.

Consumers spent less at food and beverage stores, electronics retailers, and general merchandise stores.

A separate inflation report revealed that wholesale prices dropped in October for the second consecutive month. Prices dropped 0.4 percent in October and were down 1.6 percent over the past year – the largest decline since the revamped series started in 2009.

The drop in prices and lackluster retail sales results are set to complicate things for the US Federal Reserve.

Officials at the central bank said that they are waiting for inflation to increase to a 2 percent annual rate before hiking rates.

On a positive note a total of 271,000 jobs were added to the US economy in October after two months of lackluster growth. Personal income, which reflects pretax earnings from salaries and investments, increased 0.1% in September.

“The improvement in underlying retail sales suggests that the September weakness was just a temporary slump and that the near-term trajectory of consumer spending remains encouraging,” economist Steve Murphy of Capital Economics wrote in a note to clients.

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