RETAIL SALES BEAT EXPECTATIONS

February U.S. retail sales data are out.

Total sales rose 0.3% from the previous month in February, above expectations for a 0.2% advance. January retail sales growth was revised down to -0.6% from -0.4%.

Excluding autos, sales were up 0.3%, above expectations for a 0.1% gain. January ex-autos sales growth was revised down to -0.3% from 0%.

Excluding both autos and gasoline, sales were up 0.3%, above expectations for a 0.2% rise. January ex-autos and gas sales growth was revised down to -0.5% from -0.2%.

The retail sales control group, a figure that feeds into the calculation of GDP, rose 0.3%, above expectations for a 0.2% gain. Growth in the January control group figure was revised down to -0.6% from -0.3%.

The dollar is strengthening against the euro and the yen in the wake of the release, and U.S. Treasury yields are heading higher. Equity futures are unchanged.

“If retail sales bounce back, FX investors will have another risk to worry about — the risk that the U.S. economic pick-up raises fears of a backing up of U.S. rates,” said Steven Englander, global head of G10 FX strategy at Citi, before the release.

“Expectations are for a soft rebound from weak January data … The risk is that a stronger outcome, even if average by absolute standards, will show more of a recovery than markets are pricing in, as with payrolls.”

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