Best “Recession” Ever – Retail Sales Show “Unexpected” Growth in August -AND- Despite Tariffs Import Prices Drop…


The recession-hoping pundits took more blows to their remaining credibility today when both the Commerce Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) deliver excellent economic results from August that continue to exceed MSM expectations.

The Commerce Dept. announced that retail sales climbed by 0.4 percent in August, twice as high as the 0.2 percent analysts had predicted. The result highlights retail sales strength of more than 4 percent year-over-year.   These excellent results come on the heels of blowout data in July, when households boosted purchases of cars and clothing.

The better-than-expected number stemmed largely from a 1.8 percent jump in spending vehicles. Online sales, meanwhile, also continued to climb, rising 1.6 percent. That’s similar to July, when Amazon held its two-day, blowout Prime Day sale. (link)

(Via Reuters) Retail sales rose 0.4% last month, lifted by spending on motor vehicles, building materials, healthcare and hobbies. Data for August was revised slightly up to show retail sales increasing 0.8% instead of 0.7% as previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would gain 0.2% in August. Compared to August last year, retail sales advanced 4.1%. Retail sales have increased for six straight months, the longest such stretch since June 2017. (more)

Doesn’t look like middle-class America is overly concerned about the noise coming from the pundits.   Likely that’s because wages are higher, inflation is lower, and consumer confidence is strong….  MAGAnomics is working.

Additionally, remember all those MSM hours and newspaper column inches where the professional financial pundits were claiming Trump’s tariffs were going to cause massive increases in prices of consumer goods?

Well, exactly the opposite is happening [BLS report]  Import prices continue to drop:

[Table 1 – BLS report link]

This is a really interesting dynamic that no-one in the professional punditry will dare explain.  Trump’s tariffs are targeted to specific sectors of imported products.  [Steel, Aluminum, and a host of smaller sectors etc.]  However, when the EU and China respond by devaluing their currency, that approach hits all products imported, not just the tariff goods.

Because the EU and China are driving up the value of the dollar, everything we are importing has become cheaper.   Not just imports from Europe and China, but actually imports from everywhere.   All imports are entering the U.S. at substantially lower prices.

This means when we import products we are also importing deflation.

This price result is exactly the opposite of what the pundits were predicted back in 2017 and 2018 when they were pushing the rapid price increase narrative.

Because all the export dependent economies are reacting with such urgency to retain their access to the U.S. market, aggregate import prices are actually lower now than they were when the Trump tariffs began:

[…]  Prices for imports from China edged down 0.1 percent in August following decreases of 0.2 percent in both July and June. Import prices from China have not advanced on a monthly basis since ticking up 0.1 percent in May 2018. The price index for imports from China fell 1.6 percent for the year ended in August.

[…]  Import prices from the European Union fell 0.2 percent in August and 0.3 percent over the past 12 months.

[Page #4 – BLS Report, pdf] – BLS press release

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