U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in April as households cut back on purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods, pointing to a slowdown in economic growth after a temporary boost from exports and inventories in the first quarter.
The economy’s outlook was also dimmed by other data on Wednesday showing a decline in industrial production last month. The weak reports came in the midst of an escalating trade war between the United States and China, which has triggered a massive stock market sell-off.
Economists have warned the trade tensions could undercut growth. Following the retail sales report, some economists trimmed their second-quarter growth estimates.
The Commerce Department said retail sales slipped 0.2 percent last month. Data for March was revised slightly up to show retail sales surging 1.7 percent, the largest increase since September 2017, instead of the previously reported 1.6 percent jump.
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