“Hey big spender. Spend a little time with me.” Shirley Bassey. Consumers spent more time ringing up sales in December.
The Commerce Department reported that Retail Sales rose 0.6 percent in December from November. The increase was due in part to strong sales for autos. The year ended with momentum that could signal sales growth in 2017. From December 2015, sales were up 4.1 percent year over year. Overall, sales were up 3.3 percent for 2016 after a 2.3 percent gain in 2015.
Meanwhile, wholesale inflation ticked up in December, increasing 0.3 percent from November, as reported in the Producer Price Index (PPI) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. From December 2015 to December 2016, PPI climbed 1.6 percent, which was the largest 12-month gain since 2014. Core PPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, also increased 0.2 percent from November to December.
Inflation, at both the wholesale and consumer levels, is an important measure to track because increasing inflation reduces the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds. When Bond prices worsen, the home loan rates tied to them can worsen as well.
Although Bond prices and home loan rates took a hit recently following economic news releases, home loan rates are still near historic lows.