U.S. retails sales grow 0.4 pct in December

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U.S. retail sales rose in December last year for four months running driven by strong holiday sales.

The retail and food services sales increased 0.4 percent from the previous month in December, said the U.S. Commerce Department on Friday.

For the whole 2017, retail sales jumped 4.2 percent from 2016, the strongest growth since 2014.

Consumer spending had been robust last year thanks to the improved consumer confidence and strong labor market performance.

U.S. Federal Reserve officials expected consumer spending will continue moderate growth in the near term, underpinned by the strength of the labor market, further improvements in household net worth, and buoyant consumer sentiment, according to minutes of Fed’s policy meeting in December last year.

Fed officials expected the tax cuts approved by the U.S. Congress would provide “some boost” to consumer spending.

With the optimistic outlook for consumer spending, Fed officials expected the U.S. economy to grow 2.5 percent this year, an upgrade of 2.1 percent from their forecasts in September last year.

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