U.S. consumer purchases climbed in December by the most in three months as incomes picked up, signalling a steady handoff into 2017.
The 0.5 percent advance in consumption, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, followed a 0.2 percent advance in the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed Monday. The December increase matched the Bloomberg median forecast. Incomes rose 0.3 percent, less than projected. Americans stepped up purchases during the holiday season and sales of automobiles stayed strong, capping a record year for the car industry. Solid hiring, rising wages, and low borrowing costs have increased the wherewithal to spend, while rising sentiment and expectations of lower taxes under President Donald Trump are potential tailwinds.
Euro-Area Economic Confidence Hits Highest Level Since 2011
Euro-area economic confidence hit a six-year high in January, adding to signs of stronger growth and inflation that are fueling a debate about European Central Bank stimulus. An index of executive and consumer sentiment rose to 108.2 from 107.8 in December, the European Commission said Monday. That’s the highest reading since March 2011 and compares with the 107.8 median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The better-than-expected reading will feed into the discussion about quantitative easing after an inflation surge at the end of last year prompted some calls to wind down the program. While patience seems to be running low in Germany, where large-scale asset purchases were criticized from the start, officials including ECB President Mario Draghi insist that it’s not yet time to discuss exit strategies as underlying price pressures remain weak and there are still risks to the economic outlook.
Brazil supermarket sales rise 2.23 pct in December
Brazilian supermarket sales rose 2.23 percent in real terms in December from a year ago, industry group Abras said on Monday, suggesting resilient demand for food, toiletry and cleaning items despite a severe recession. Sales rose 1.58 percent in inflation adjusted terms in 2016 and are likely to increase 1.3 percent this year, Abras said. The national sales index compiles data from 2,800 outlets representing about 130 companies that account for 60 percent of supermarket sales in Brazil.