Global Growth? Retail Sales Flop in US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia

Consumers unexpectedly threw in the towel in 5 countries but the central banks and the IMF insist everything is fine.

On February 14, I noted US Retail Sales Dive, Negative Revisions Too. This will impact both 4th quarter and first quarter GDP estimates.

On February 22, Bloomberg reported Canadian Retail Sales Drop Unexpectedly.

"Receipts fell 0.8 percent to C$49.6 billion in the last month of 2017, Statistics Canada reported Thursday. It was the biggest monthly decline since March 2016. Economists were expecting no change during the month."

On February 16, the Financial Times reported UK retail sales figures disappoint. The results were positive but barely.

"The volume of retail sales grew by 0.1 per cent month-on-month, far below analysts’ expectations of 0.5 per cent growth in January, according to a poll from Thomson Reuters. On the year, sales were up by 1.6 per cent, from 1.4 per cent, far below expectations for a 2.6 per cent rise."

On January 31, Reuters reported German Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall in December.

Given the Fed's outlook and increasing expectations of four rate hikes plus tapering in the US, tapering in the EU, and rate hikes in the UK, such reports must be meaningless.

Also note the IMF made a "Brighter Forecast" for the global economy in January. When has the IMF ever been wrong?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

No. 1-12

It is not only retail sales that have issues. The road ahead looks very challenging for automakers. Problems are building and lurking around every corner. The combination of overcapacity coupled with high consumer debt and higher interest rates paint an ugly picture going forward. When you add in the fact millions of vehicles are coming off leases the challenge facing automakers becomes formidable.

Delinquencies on subprime loans made by non-bank lenders are soaring toward crisis levels just as some of the big banks long friendly to this sector have pulled back from the auto lending business. To top it off, state regulators are circling the industry and looking at whether it preyed on borrowers and put them in cars they couldn’t afford. More on the problems automakers face in the article below.



Is it possible the main consumers have finally gotten saturated with "stuff"? My wife told me today everyone she knows is trying to sell extra unwanted "stuff". Then again, everything made in China will have to be replaced in a year or so.....


This post puzzles me. If I read the table right, sales appear to be up year over year by about 4% from January a year ago. Yes, January sales are down from December, but isn't that always true? What am I missing?


You've pretty much said it there Realist. An individual's economic lot in life is local. Aside from "a little bit of luck and the creeks don't rise," we all have choices. Some will be good, some not. Those who take responsibility for the wrong choices they make will gain much more than those who point blame elsewhere. Call it tuition and move on. For sure, if one is investing, based not on obtained knowledge, but on advice from misc. Sages, Gurus and Bloggers,,,well, there is only one direction to turn when things go wrong. That be the mirror.