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BofA Finds Surging Consumer Confidence Does Not Result In Higher Spending

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Apr 13, 2017 11:54 AM

While markets are closed tomorrow for Good Friday, the Census Bureau will release both CPI and Retail Sales data at their regularly scheduled times. And since it will be impossible to trade these numbers as they are released, here is a courtesy advance look from Bank of America which as usual has released its internal debt and credit card data in advance of the government report. What it found is that while there has been a slight improvement to the surprisingly poor data from recent months, it is nowhere near what one would expect based on near record consumer confidence surveys.

As BofA’s Michelle Meyer writes, according to the BAC internal card data, consumer spending improved in March relative to the weak pace in February. The bank’s estimate of retail sales ex-autos, derived from the aggregated credit and debit card data, increased at a 0.4% mom seasonally adjusted pace in March – the highest print in nearly a year – even as gasoline prices declined on a seasonally adjusted basis in March. While Meyer notes that this points to “healthy growth in core control retail sales released by the Census Bureau on Friday”, she cautions that “the gain may not be quite as strong given that the BAC data had been trending below the Census and was therefore due for a bounce higher.”

Furthermore, the monthly pattern has been particularly noisy of late – sales fell sharply in December (-0.9%), rebounded in January (1.6%) but slipped lower in February (-0.1%). There gave been a number of “special factors” which influenced retail sales, including the timing of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and the delay in tax refunds which likely delayed spending from February to March. Therefore
it is prudent to smooth through the wiggles – on a three-month moving basis, retail sales ex-autos are up 0.6% mom, while retail sales ex-autos are up 4.5%

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