Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Retail sales in-line; Import prices hot

Lots going on this morning, so I'm going to be brief. Retail sales in July came in roughly in line with expectations. Sales were down 0.1%, right in line with forecasts. Motor vehicles and parts were the biggest drag on retail sales, down 2.4% on the month. That left them down 8% from the same month a year earlier. Retail sales less autos were slightly weaker -- up 0.4% vs. forecasts for a 0.5% gain.

Import prices, for their part, rose 1.7% in July. That was hotter than the 1% gain that was forecast. Import prices are up a whopping 21.6% year-over-year, compared with a rise of 21.1% in June. It's not just energy, either. Ex-petroleum import prices were up 0.9%, and ex-all-fuels prices were up 0.7%. The cost of imports from China -- which I've talked about before -- continues to go up. Chinese imports rose 0.9% on the month, vs. 0.6% in June.

Bonds had a knee-jerk sell off after the numbers came out, but it didn't last. Long bond futures are now up 13/32 to their morning highs. The dollar index has given back early gains, while stock futures have weakened further.


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