Retail Sales surge. Fed hikes rates

Thursday – December 14

The Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that retailers saw consumer spending jump in November to kick off the holiday shopping season. November Retail Sales rose 0.8%, well above the 0.3% expected, while October was revised higher to 0.5% from 0.2%. Since November 2016, Retail Sales grew by 5.8%. A strong labor market coupled with an improving economy were the catalysts behind the gains.

The Federal Reserve raised the benchmark short term Fed Funds Rate by 0.25% yesterday bringing that rate to 1.50%. The hike in rates now leaves the Prime Rate at 4.5%, which is calculated by taking the Fed Funds Rate and adding three points. On the inflation front, the Fed said that “both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have declined this year and are running below 2%.