Spending starting to improve, some retail sales rising

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A woman poses for a photo by the "Lennon Wall" with a face mask attached to the image of John Lennon, in Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, April 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Tuesday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.



— With countries starting to loosen lockdown restrictions, many nations are beginning to show spending improvements, according to Visa. Total U.S. payments volume dropped 5% in May from a year earlier. That's a 13 percentage point improvement from April. Debit grew 12% and credit declined 21% year-over-year in the period. That's a 17 percentage point and 9 percentage point improvement over April, respectively.

Visa said in a regulatory filing that the recovery in international markets in which it process the majority of transactions lagged the U.S. in May. Global processed transactions declined 12% last month, a 12 percentage point improvement over April.


— Interest rates on U.S. new vehicle loans dropped to 4% on average last month, the lowest since 2013 as automakers offered 0% financing to juice sales. The Edmunds.com auto pricing site says the rate was the third-lowest since 2002.

Loan lengths were near record highs in May with an average of 71.4 months, Edmunds reported. Used car rates averaged 8.3%, down from 8.7% a year ago but up more than a point from May of 2015.