Czech retail sales grew by 5.2% y/y in December 2013 easing from a nearly three-year high of 6.1% in November when shoppers rushed to buy goods before prices rose as a result of the central bank’s interventions to weaken the koruna.
The growth in December was supported by a robust expansion of auto sales and non-food goods, data from the statistics office showed.
On a working day adjusted basis, retail sales in the last month of 2013 increased by 3.6% y/y and when adjusted for seasonal factors they went up 1.2% m/m. December 2013 had one working day more than in the same month of 2012.
Auto sales increased for the ninth straight month in December posting an annual growth of 16.8%, the strongest since Jan 2011. Retail sales, including automotive fuel, also increased but at the much weaker pace of 1.8%, easing from 3.3% in November.
In full-2013 retail sales in the country increased by 1% improving from a 1.1% decline in 2012.
IntelliNews comment: Despite easing from November, the Czech retail sales growth remained strong in December indicating a recovering consumer confidence as the economy emerges from a protracted recession. Refined data on Jan 9 showed the Czech GDP rising for the second straight quarter in Q3 ending an 18-month long slump. Real wages that grew for the first time in three quarters in Q3 also support a growth in retail sales. The central bank's interventions on the currency market had a positive effect on retail sales in November but in the months to come it may hurt consumption as higher import prices will lead to a rise in shop prices.
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