World Economy

US Consumers Flex Muscle

US Consumers Flex MuscleUS Consumers Flex Muscle

US consumer spending regained momentum in January as households ramped up purchases of a variety of goods, in a hopeful sign that economic growth was picking up after slowing to a crawl at the end of 2015.

Other data on Friday showed import prices fell in January for a seventh straight month as the cost of petroleum products continued to decline and a strong dollar undercut prices for a range of goods, pointing to weak inflation in the near term, Reuters reported.

The Commerce Department said retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services increased 0.6% last month after an unrevised 0.3% decline in December.

These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. Economists had forecast core retail sales increasing 0.3% last month.