Well, what did we say on Thursday evening?
You need to keep a close eye on the bursting US auto bubble because while you’ll hear plenty of folks explaining how “contained” it is or how unlikely it is to become “systemic,” you’re going to see references to it popping up everywhere you look over the next six months.
Witness the just-released March retail sales:
- U.S. March Retail Sales Fell 0.2% vs Est. -0.2%
- Retail sales less autos unchanged in March, est. 0.1%
- Retail sales forecast range -1% to 0.3% from 75 economists surveyed
- Retail sales fell 0.3% in Feb.
- Retail sales fell to $470.844b in March vs $471.865b in Feb.
- Retail sales ex-auto dealers, building materials and gasoline stations rose 0.4% in March
- Retail sales ‘control group’ rose 0.5% m/m in March
- Retail sales ‘control group’ excludes food services, automobile dealers, building materials and gasoline stations
- Auto dealer y/y sales rose $5.1b in March to $87.8b
- Categories Rising (m/m out of 13) equals 7 vs 6 last month; 9 last March
Meanwhile – and more importantly in terms of the reflation thesis – we also got CPI on Friday morning. To wit:
- CPI fell 0.3% vs est. 0%, according to the BLS (that’s the first decline in a year)
- Forecast range from down 0.2% to up 0.3% from 79 estimates
- Ex. food, energy down 0.1% vs est. 0.2% (that’s the first decline since January 2010)
- CPI y/y rose 2.4% vs est. 2.6%
- CPI NSA index level at 243.801
- In Jan. 2018, BLS will revise CPI to utilize the 2010 Decennial Census.
- Tax return preparation fees rose 2.4% M/m in March; 6.5% Y/y
And rounding out the data, average hourly earnings:
- U.S. March Real Average Weekly Earnings Unchanged at 0% Y/y
- Real avg. weekly earnings rose 0.5% M/m in March, according to the BLS.
- Real avg. hourly earnings rose 0.5% M/m in March
- Real avg. hourly earnings rose 0.3% Y/y in March
We’re not exactly sure that, when taken together, all of the above paints a very “reflation-ish” picture.