Descienden las Ventas Minoristas en USA

martes, 1 de mayo de 2007

Nouriel Roubini | May 01, 2007

The key to the soft landing argument - after housing, non-residential investment, net exports have being so weak recently - has been the US consumer: with 71% of GDP being private consumption the US cannot tip over into a hard landing unless the savingless US consumer falters. For a while this blog has argued that the US consumer would be the last shoe to drop. Last week it was pointed out here that the growth deceleration would worsens in Q2 relative to Q1 as private consumption would weaken:


March stole consumption from April and Q2: the early Easter this year pushed Easter spending from April to March; and the good weather in March stole spring clothing and other spending that usually occurs in April and spring. Indeed major retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart are now predicting falling sales in April. Also, as discussed in previous blogs here the five main determinants of private consumption - labor/income generation, effective interest rates, wealth, debt and debt-servicing ratios, and consumer confidence - are all showing signs consistent with consumption weakness."

There is now first evidence that consumption has started to weaken in April. According to Redbook Research's latest indicator of national retail sales released Tuesday U.S. chain store sales fell 4.1% - on a seasonally undajusted basis - in the first three weeks of April compared with the previous month. Also, on a year over year % basis this is the first such drop since March 2003 when worries about the start of the war in Iraq led to a consumption retrenchment. And the previous time when such year over year % measure of retail sales became negative was in November 2001 when the US was in a recession.

Of course a month does not make a trend - even if this is the first outright drop since 2003. But the fundamental factors leading to a consumption slowdown - identified above - are here to stay and get worse. So this is the first signal that after housing, auto, manufacturing, non residential investment, capex investment by firms, and services that have all shown some signs of weakness and growth slowdown in the last few months there is now evidence that even the only factor that prevented Q1 growth from becoming negative - consumption that grew at a 3.8% rate in Q1 - is now showing serious signs of weakness in the first month of Q2.

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