Fra Zerohedge:

While Bank of America had warned investors to brace for a dismal retail spending print in January, expectations remained positive (albeit just a 0.1% MoM move) for December’s (delayed due to shutdown) official spending data today.

As a reminder, on Tuesday we reported that retail sales ex-autos, as measured by the aggregated BAC credit and debit card data, tumbled 0.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted in January – the biggest drop in three years. This followed a flat reading in retail sales ex-autos in December.

Turning to the January BAC internal data, in January, spending for 4 out of 14 sectors increased in the month, showing broad-based weakening.

As a reminder, Retail Sales for the Control Group soared in November (+0.9% MoM) so some slowdown was expected; but, the government’s official retail spending data for December confirmed BofA’s concerns and plunged…

  • Headline Retail Sales -1.2% MoM (+0.1% MoM exp)
  • Control Group Retail Sales -1.7% MoM (+0.4% MoM exp)

That is the biggest MoM drop since 2009 for the headline and equal biggest MoM drop ever for the control group…

Which sent the Year-over-year retail sales data reeling…

This is the worst December retail sales print since 2008 (and 2nd worst in history)…

Needless to say, this will be a disaster for Q4 GDP forecasts which we now expect to print in the low 1% range.

We give BofA the last word:

“While there are a number of special factors that skew the data, the softening of late has revealed the weakest trend for consumer spending since mid-2016.”