The U.S. March retail sales data almost wiped out the gains posted in the prior months and show shocking continuing weakness in the economy consistent with ongoing recession.

March retail sales printed down 1.1%, and ex-autos posted a 0.9% loss, with broad declines, a shock from the expectations for a small gain.

Sales excluding autos and gasoline posted lower 0.8% after a 0.7% gain in February. This seesawing is also a sign of weakness.

January-February ex-auto sales were revised modestly higher, as were overall sales, so there is a chance that March levels will be revised up in a later report. But the first-quarter ex-auto sales average now stands below the fourth-quarter average, confirming GDP will drop sharply.

— Market News International

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