Global retail spending slowed down somewhat in December, falling 0.1% from its November level. As a result, retail volumes closed the year up 4.6% from 2016, exceeding the rate of growth implied by fundamentals (+4.4%). Transitory income shocks have now pushed private consumption 0.5% above its stable growth path, adding to inflationary pressures. Global CPI inflation accelerated in the fourth quarter, rising 3.8% SAAR. Considering PPI inflation is currently well above its steady-state level (4.1% versus 1.7%), we expect consumer prices – and in particular retail prices – to accelerate in 2018, increasing the likelihood of monetary tightening.
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