U.S. Outlook: More signs of inflation and growth
Survey data on consumer and business confidence has soared since the November election, but the question on economists’ minds is: Will the hard, non-survey economic data follow to support this optimism?
For more on these developments, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on Jan. 20.Key observations:
- For the November and December period, total retail sales increased 4.0% compared to a year ago.
- December’s retail sales gains were led by autos, gasoline stations, and non-store retailers (i.e., Amazon).
- For the first time in this expansion, more consumer spending is coming with coincident doses of rising prices and rising credit-card balances.
- Rising inflation is likely on the Fed’s radar now and could mean a faster pace of rate hikes in 2017 than the market currently has priced in.