FXstreet.com (Barcelona) - Retail sales have increased 0.3% in the United States in January in seasonally adjusted terms, against the market expectations of a 0.2% decline, according to data released by the US Census Bureau.

The surprise in January's sales has been, according to Ian Shepherdson, Chief U.S. Economist at High Frequency Economics, Ltd, the increase in auto sales: The big surprise here is the 0.6% rise in auto dealers' sales, despite the automakers' reporting a 6.4% plunge in sales. The data don't always move together but this is a huge gap; it appears to suggest that all the drop in sales was to fleet buyers rather the individuals.

January's increase reverses the 0.4% decrease posted in December. On the year, retail sales have increased 3.9%, while in the quarter to January, sales have posted a 4.4% increase compared to the same period last year.

Retail trade sales increased 0.4% from December, while they increased 3.8% on the year, and sales in gas stations increased 23.0% on the year, while sales on non-store retailers increased 10.6% on the year.