Inflation continues to tick up with the Consumer Price Index growing 7.0% from a year ago and 0.5% from November. These increases were largely in line with economists’ expectations, though still at the fastest pace since the early 1980s.
December’s retail sales disappointed, showing a considerable slowdown from November with overall sales declining 1.9%. While economists had expected a slight decline of 0.1%, Omicron took its toll with discretionary spending declining, particularly in furniture, electronics, and clothing. Lack of inventory in autos also hurt the monthly numbers. Together with an earlier than normal shopping season, Q4’s retail sales grew 8.7% on an annualized basis.
Industrial production also disappointed, declining 0.1% in December, while economists had expected a 0.2% increase.
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