Oil saves US retail figures

CAR and petrol sales salvaged an otherwise lacklustre June for US retailers, data out yesterday revealed.<br /><br />The report from the US Commerce Department showed sales at retailers rose 0.6 per cent from a month earlier, beating economists&rsquo; expectations of a 0.4 per cent advance.<br /><br />But outside of car showrooms and petrol stations, the sales results were disappointingly weak, indicating consumers remained wary of stepping up discretionary spending despite signs the recession may be drawing to a close.<br /><br />The news came as Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke mooted the possibility of a &ldquo;jobless recovery&rdquo;, saying that continued high unemployment was a possibility even after the recession loosens its grip.<br /><br />Meanwhile, an inflation gauge jumped by twice as much as expected, suggesting a long-awaited economic recovery will be sluggish.