US reports slight rise in retail sales in September

Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) US retail sales rose slightly in September, supported by strong auto sales, but sales elsewhere were disappointing.

In September, retail sales went up 0.1 percent from the previous month, with August’s growth revised to zero from an initial reading of 0.2 percent, said the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

On a year-on-year basis, the sales went up 2.4 percent in September, reported Xinhua.

Motor vehicle and parts sales rose 1.7 percent from the previous month in September, leading the increase in total sales, while sales of gasoline dropped 3.2 percent in the month. Excluding the volatile auto sales, total retail sales were unchanged in September.

Sluggish sales may raise concerns about American consumers’ spending power, as retail sales account for about one-third of consumer spending, the main engine of the economic activity. Some economists hold that the weak sales report could signal a slower-than-expected economic growth for the third quarter.

US Federal Reserve vice chairman Stanley Fischer recently quoted private forecasters as saying that the US economy is expected to grow at a pace of about 2 percent in the second half of this year, compared to the 2.25 percent increase in the first half.

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