US retail sales post record resurgence in May
US retail sales recorded a record jump in May, rising far above expectations as Americans began to return to work and resume spending after weeks of lockdown.
US retail sales rose 17.7 per cent in May, data from the US Commerce Department showed, reinforcing views that the worst of the economic slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic is over.
US retail and food services sales for the month were $485.5bn, an increase of 17.7 percent on April’s figure.
However May’s rebound only retraces a fraction of the historic drops posted in March and April amid the coronavirus lockdowns. The index had plunged 14.7 per cent in April alone as lockdown measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 were implemented across the US.
May’s gain exceeded the previous record increase of 6.7 per cent in October 2001 as Americans resumed spending following what was then a record pullback in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
US retail sales had been expected to increase eight per cent in May, according to economists polled by Reuters.
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The yields on US benchmark 10-year Treasuries rose to 0.768 per cent from 0.756 per cent after the release of the US retail sales figures. US stock futures also rose sharply after the data was released.
The sales rebound was helped by strong auto sales as the relaxing of lockdowns across the country allowed car dealership showrooms to reopen. May’s sales rate climbed above 12m vehicles per year after dropping below 9m in April, according to Wards Intelligence.
The closely watched “retail control” figure, which further excludes building materials, food services and gasoline sales as well as setting aside automotive-related sales, rose by a record 11.0 per cent, the report showed.
Economists had been expecting the figure, which most closely tracks the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, to see a gain of 4.7 per cent.