Solid October retail sales lift hopes for US economy
An increase in shopping last month during the partial government shutdown suggests that the U.S. economy may be more resilient than some have feared.
Retail sales rose 0.4 percent in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, after being flat the previous month. The increase showed that many consumers remain willing to spend as the all-important holiday shopping season nears.
Fed could slow bond buys
if job situation improves
Members of the Federal Reserve agreed last month that they would likely start reducing their bond purchases in coming months if the job market improved further. They also weighed the possibility of slowing the purchases even without clear evidence of a strengthening job market.
The Fed’s bond purchases have been intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low to spur spending and growth.
The minutes of the Oct. 29-30 meeting, released Wednesday, also show that members wrestled with how to assure investors that even after they cut back on the $85 billion a month in bond buys, the Fed still intends to keep its key short-term rate near record lows.
US consumer prices drop
0.1 percent on cheaper gas
Cheaper gasoline lowered overall U.S. consumer prices slightly in October.
But outside the steep drop at the pump, inflation stayed mild.
The consumer price index fell 0.1 percent last month, down from a 0.2 of a percent increase in September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. The October decline was due mainly to a 2.9 percent drop in gasoline costs, the largest since April. Over the past 12 months, overall prices have risen 1 percent, well below the Federal Reserve’s inflation target of 2 percent.
The Associated Press