Economic Data 09/14/12


Retail Sales: BIG Gas Sales Increase


The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $406.7 billion, an increase of 0.9 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month and 4.7 percent (±0.7%) above August 2011. Total sales for the June through August 2012 period were up 4.0 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The June to July 2012 percent change was revised from 0.8 percent (±0.5%) to 0.6 percent (±0.2%).

Bah, really.

If you believe the seasonal adjustments then of the $3,572 (millions) increase $2,387, or two thirds was gasoline.

And that’s not an increase in driving, it’s increases in price.

Oh, and of the rest nearly all of it was car sales.

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CPI: Some Like It Smoking Hot

And here comes the consumer price increases!

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was the largest since June 2009. About 80 percent of the increase was accounted for by the gasoline index, which rose 9.0 percent and was the major factor in the energy index rising sharply in August after declining in each of the four previous months.

It didn’t rise, it skyrocketed.

Energy as a whole was up 4% on the month, with a 7.2% increase in motor fuels.

Oh yeah, and QE doesn’t tend to make oil prices go up, does it?  Well let’s see — as I drove my kid to school this morning I noted that overnight fuel prices were up six cents, or about 1-1/2%.

But don’t worry, “core” inflation is contained.

Of course nobody we know buys gasoline or food, right?

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