No one's paying retail, look at the numbers

The May retail sales numbers came out and the overall number was a few basis points higher than analysts projections.

The cheerleaders crowed and pointed out that the consumer is back. What they failed to note was that much of the beat was centered on a 2.1% growth in gas station retail sales.

These purchases are necessities for part-time workers needing to commute to two or more jobs. May also marks the beginning of the summer driving season.

On the other side of the ledger, malls and other large retail outlets saw sales decline year-over-year.

Also released yesterday was a report on escalating lates and defaults on credit card debt. All of the card issuers were down double the market percentage-wise on Tuesday.

The consumer is so cash-strapped they are not even able to get the minimum payment out to the card issuer. Some 8% of credit debt is now 90+ days late and the trend is up.

However, that 8% mark in credit card defaults looks rosy when you compare it to the 11% default rate in student loans.

Almost $130B of the $1.26T student debt market is non-performing.

But alas, we get Fed chief Janet Yellen speaking today. There is far less drama as no one expects the Fed to do anything with rates. But she will jawbone how this measure is above trend and that measure is picking up and that the July meeting will be “on the table” as she kicks the can down the road to no rate hikes this year, albeit in December after the election.

 

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