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US retail sales unexpectedly plunge 0.5% in February

US retail sales unexpectedly plunge 0.5% in February

Retail sales in the United States saw an unexpected drop in February, reflecting the slowdown in consumer spending even before the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The volume of retail sales plummeted 0.5 percent last month, the most in a year, while the previous reading was revised up from 0.3 percent increase to 0.6 percent. Analysts had estimated a 0.2 percent surge.  

Core retail sales also edged down 0.4 percent from an upwardly revised of 0.6 percent soar. That also defied analysts' forecasts of 0.1 percent increase.

"Total sales for the December 2019 through February 2020 period were up 4.9% from the same period a year ago," the Commerce Department publication said.

The dollar index traded was 1.45 percent up at 99.60, the highest since February 21, set for its sixth straight session of gain, as of 13:50 GMT.

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