U.S. retail sales declined for the sixth consecutive month in December with a worse than expected 2.7% M/ M drop, following the downwardly revised 2.1% M/M drop in November (previously reported as -1.8% M/M). The drop in December was far worse than the 1.2% M/M decline expected by the markets. Excluding autos, sales were down by its largest margin on record (going back to 1967), falling by 3.1% M/M, which was worse than the market consensus for a more modest 1.4% M/M drop.

Core retail sales (sales ex-autos and ex-gas), moreover, declined by a more modest 1.5% M/M. On a year ago basis, total retail sales are down by a staggering 9.8% Y/ Y, while sales ex-autos are down 6.7% Y/Y. And on a 3- month annualised basis, sales have fallen a whopping 24.6%.