Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Data released today

Retail sales were released today. We still don't know whether the drop was in volume or in prices -- Dec price indices are coming out later this week.

I suspect that real quarterly retail sales are 5.5% lower in Q4 than in Q3. They were 2.5 percent lower in Q3 than in Q2.

But remember that retail sales are a lot more volatile than total consumption (the former are about 3% of the latter). I am working on my consumption forecast, but it will probably be around -1% (at a quarterly rate).

The other news today is that import prices fell more than export prices: good news for us, bad news for China and the middle east.

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