US retail sales data for June 2019:

  • Prior +0.5% (revised to +0.4%)
  • Control group +0.7% vs +0.3% expected
  • Prior control group 0.4% (revised to +0.6%)
  • Ex autos +0.4% vs +0.1% expected
  • Prior ex autos +0.5% (revised to +0.4%)
  • Ex autos and gas +0.7% vs +0.3% expected
  • Prior ex autos and gas +0.5% (unrevised)

The US consumer looks pretty good. The old adage is still true: Never underestimate the spending power of the US consumer.

As for the Fed, the worry isn't generally about the consumer. Powell said consumption was solid in his testimony last week and pointed more to global growth, trade and business investment as spots to worry.

In the small picture, this doesn't change the likelihood (certainty?) of a July 31 rate cut but it's looking more like one or two 'insurance' cuts than a cycle.

Here's a great chart: It shows the control group with the six-month moving average. It's at the highest since at least 1992, when the current series began.

retail sales control group

That's skewed by that Dec/Jan drop-and-pop but if you take 3, 4 or 5 month samples they're still very strong.