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(Kitco News) – Recession fears could start to pick up again as U.S. consumers cut back on their spending, with retail sales numbers dropping more than expected last month.
U.S. retail sales dropped 1.0% in March, following a revised 0.2% decline in February, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department. Economists expected a decrease of 0.4%% in last month’s headline number.
Core sales, which strip out vehicle sales, also missed expectations, falling 0.8% last month versus the projected decline of 0.1%. The report’s control group, which strips out autos, gas, building materials, and food services, dropped 0.3%, falling in line with the consensus forecast.
The disappointing economic data is not having much impact on gold as the market sees some technical selling pressure after Thursday’s rally to a fresh 13-month high. June gold futures last traded at $2,045.60 an ounce, down 0.47% on the day.
Along with gold, the weaker-than-expected retail sales numbers are not having much impact on market expectations surrounding the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision next month. According to the CME FedWatch Tool, markets see roughly a 70% chance that the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates by 25 basis points in May. At the same time, markets still see the Federal Reserve cutting rates by the summer.
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