Robust Retail Sales Suggest Economy Enjoying Strong Second Quarter

(CN) – Retail sales rose sharply in June, led by a surge in consumer spening on motor vehicles, building materials and food services, the Commerce Department said Monday.

According to the government, retail sales increased 0.5 percent in June, while previously reported data for May was revised to show sales jump 1.3 percent that month, instead of the announced 0.8 percent.

May’s rise in retail sales was the largest since September 2017.

Given the upward revision to May data, the concensus view is that spending accelerated in the second quarter.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, stalled between January and March, growing at its slowest pace in nearly five years.

While the numbers are positive, they are also contributing to concerns about inflation and the prospect the Federal Reserve will rapidly raise interest rates. Already, two increases in those rates are expected before the end of the year.

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