US sales figures – a little hope amid the gloom

14th October 2011

Sales in general were up 1.1 per cent, the largest gain in seven months, according to US Commerce Department figures.

Car makers saw a rebound in sales in September with high demand for SUVs and pickups despite fuel prices.

The website reports that major retailers were reporting strong demand. The International Council of Shopping Centers said revenue rose 5.5 percent last month, compared to sales a year ago. Target Corp., Limited Brands Inc. and Kohl's Corp. posted strong gains as consumers went for discounted merchandise.

Bloomberg Business Week focuses on a more mixed picture in terms of the trade gap. It sees a silver lining in US exports which were the second highest ever standing at $177.6bn.

And it quotes Greg Daco, a senior economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts saying: "Emerging markets are slowing, but they are still posting robust growth numbers, so as a result we are expecting moderate growth in exports will continue. Imports will fall a bit as domestic demand slows. Trade will have a minor, but still positive, contribution to growth, which is something that is very much needed."

The report also notes that US aluminium giant Alcoa believes that while European orders may slow, Chinese demand will still grow by as much as 17 per cent.

In the Wall Street Journal, just a week ago, Warren Buffett said he still believed the US economy was on the road to recovery.

He said: "As of today, the recovery is still under way. I really thought in August or September, with all the turmoil in the markets, you'd see a falloff, particularly on higher priced items. But it hasn't happened yet."

A long way to go though.

More from Mindful Money:

Apple: More money than the US government

Is a break-up of the Eurozone the answer?

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