US retail sales thump estimates in December

A nice strong beat for the US economy.

Retail sales grew by 0.2 per cent in the US this December, while economists had only expected growth of 0.1 per cent.

Some bad news in revisions to earlier data however. November's growth has been knocked down from 0.7 per cent to 0.4 per cent. And traditional holiday shopping was reportedly weak.

Can't blame the weather for the November revisions.

But Paul Dales, senior US economist at Capital Economics, says the numbers are stronger than they look.

Dales says "weather aside, if we’re right in thinking that the underlying trend in jobs growth is still improving, households will continue to spend more freely in 2014."

Today's numbers should mean that we see annualised US fourth quarter growth of three per cent, according to Capital Economics.