US Consumer Spending Ticks Up Amid Strong Wages, BofA Says
Comment of the Day

February 10 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

US Consumer Spending Ticks Up Amid Strong Wages, BofA Says

This article may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

Consumer spending ticked up at the start of the 2023 in the US, reversing declines late last year and suggesting that even lower-income families have some cash buffers to fall back on, according to a Bank of America Institute report.

Bank of America credit- and debit-card spending rose 1.7% in January from December, making it a 5.1% jump from a year earlier. 

The robust annual gain reflects in part the negative impact from the Omicron variant back in January 2022, according to the report. But it also suggests that consumption was bolstered by an increase in Social Security benefits and the minimum wage in some states, as well as the surprisingly robust labor market. Services such as airlines and restaurants in particular saw a boost.

The data add to evidence that a pullback in late 2022 — which had economists worried that a recession was looming — may have been short-lived. Once again, the American consumer proved more resilient than expected.

Eoin Treacy's view

This news item supported the Dollar today as investors once more begin to bet on the possibility the peak of the interest rate hiking cycle is further in the future. The Dollar Index continues to extend its bounce from the region of the 1000-day MA.

10-year yields continues to rebound from the region of the 200-day MA and the medium-term trend is still quite consistent.
The caveat is the durable goods inventory/sales ratio is marching higher. That suggests discounting is inevitable and margins will be compressed. Adidas’s issue with selling over $1 billion in Yeezy merchandise is only the most public example.

Stocks like Costco and Wal-Mart have very toppy looking chart patterns and valuations are rich. If more companies are in a similar situation of rising inventories and stagnant to falling sales, that’s a recipe for a significant rise in unemployment. 

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