Bosnia’s Serb Republic retail sales declined for a third straight month in March 2014, going down by 9.0% y/y and following a 6.4% y/y contraction the month before, the entity’s statistics office said in a statement. The reading likely signals that domestic demand remains depressed amid subdued employment growth (up by just 0.2% in 2013) and falling wages.
On a monthly basis, retail sales climbed 25.4% in March after decreasing 7.0% in February. Compared to the 2013 average, March’s retail trade turnover fell 13.9%.
Falling sales in non-specialised stores (down 24.3% y/y) and of automotive fuels and lubricants (down 6.7% y/y) pushed the overall index down.
On the other hand, retail trade of food, beverages and tobacco grew 11.6% y/y in March easing from a 14% hike in February. Other retail trade out of stores, likewise, went up by 12.1% y/y after climbing 28.9% y/y the month before.
The Serb Republic together with the Muslim-Croat Federation makes Bosnia. It accounts for around one third of the country’s total GDP. Household final consumption contributes nearly 70% of the entity’s GDP.
According to the IMF, private consumption is forecast to start recovering this year as Bosnia’s export-led economic growth strengthens to 2% from an estimated 1.2% in 2013.
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