US recovery keeps pace as retail and manufacturing rise

 
Tim Wallace
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US RETAIL sales expanded in October, while the decline in manufacturing came to a halt, according to upbeat figures released yesterday by the Commerce Department and the New York Fed, boosting hopes that the US will avoid the slump hitting many European economies.

Sales increased by 0.5 per cent month-on-month and were 7.2 per cent higher than in October 2010.

Electronics boomed, with sales rising 3.7 per cent on September’s figure, though department stores saw overall sales fall 1.2 per cent on the month.

Meanwhile, manufacturers in New York State reported improving business conditions in November.

The New York Fed’s Empire State survey index registered conditions at 0.6 in November, the first positive reading since May.

The outlook for the future has improved sharply with a net balance of 39.02 per cent of respondents expecting conditions to be better in six months’ time. The strong confidence figure compares with a net balance of 6.74 per cent who were expecting an improvement in the previous month.

Manufacturers are also benefiting from a 0.3 per cent monthly decline in producer prices in October, led by falls in gasoline and residential gas prices.

Inventories fell in the month, though suppliers expect to replenish them in the near future.

“It is becoming quite clear that the economy has a decent amount of momentum that should help it cope, at least for now, with any adverse effects emanating from Europe,” said Paul Dales of Capital Economics.