Hot Potato Money in Play as Retail Sales Unexpectedly Flop

Economists expected the retail surge in March to continue in April. It didn't.
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Advance Retail Sales Month-Over-Month 2021-04

Advance Retail Sales Details 

  • Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $619.9 billion, virtually unchanged from the previous month, and 51.2 percent above April 2020. 
  • Total sales for the February 2021 through April 2021 period were up 27.1 percent from the same period a year ago. 
  • The February 2021 to March 2021 percent change was revised from up 9.7 percent percent) to up 10.7 percent.

What Happened

Retail sales blasted higher in March and revisions added to the impact. 

There were three rounds of Covid stimulus, a year ago under Trump, then in January and March under Biden.

Sales Consensus vs Actual

  • Retail Sales Consensus +1.0%, Actual +0.0%
  • Ex-Vehicles Consensus +0.8%, Actual -0.8%
  • Ex-Vehicles and Gas Consensus +0.7%, Actual -0.8%
  • Control Group Consensus +0.1%, Actual -1.5%

Hot Potato 

Economists expected the surge to continue to continue in April but look at what happened.

Free money stimulus is like a hot potato. As soon as you give away free money people spend it then the effect quickly vanishes.

QE Did Not and Will Not Spur Bank Lending

Loans and Leases at Commercial Banks vs Deposits 2021-03

The Fed Wants to Stimulate Bank Lending, Charts Show the Fed Failed

Psychology of QE vs Spending

As far as the tock market goes, the Psychology of QE is Far More Important Than the Amount of It

Spending is another matter.

What's Biden going to do for an encore?

Mish

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