US retail sales exceed expectations

<p>Retail sales in the US outperformed estimates in May.</p>

US retail sales beat expectations in May, according to the latest official data.

Figures released by the Commerce Department showed retail sales increased by 0.6 per cent in May from April, which is higher than the rise of 0.4 per cent that had been predicted by analysts.

Car sales were partly responsible for this increase as they were up by 1.8 per cent over the course of the month, which is the largest gain for this sector in six months.

"These data were strong and confirmed the Fed has the leeway to signal it's ready to pull out," said Robbert Van Batenburg, director of market strategy at Newedge USA.

Paul Dales, US economist at Capital Economics, suggested the improvement in retail sales in the US could be due to consumers "getting over" tax hikes and enjoying increased spending power in the last few weeks.

Weak retail sales figures for the UK recently led to the pound losing value against the dollar. Sterling also fell away against the euro as a result of the data.

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