Romania’s retail sales volume index shrank 4.4% y/y in May, the statistics office reported. Just like in April and earlier in Q1, the sales’ dynamics was driven in the negative area by lower car fuel sales.
Different timing of Orthodox Easter in 2013 and 2012 [in May and April, respectively] and the extended holiday this year might have had an impact on the short-term indicators in April-May. But even for the period of Apr-May, considered in order to filter out Ester’s effects, the sales index still decreased by 0.9% y/y.
Nonetheless, sales of non-food goods increased by 3% and even sales of food goods edged up 0.1% y/y. Car fuel sales were 8% lower and this pushed the cumulative Apr-May sales in the negative area.
On a broader perspective, there are no grounds to expect a relevant improvement in the retail sales index as long as wages remain roughly constant and consumer lending is very scarce. The low consumer confidence is also reflected by the rising balance of households with banks - households’ balance [bank deposits minus loans] increased by EUR 2.1bn [1.6% of GDP] in the past 12 months ending May 2013.
|Retail Sales Index||2009||2010||2011||2012||Q1-13||Apr-13||May-13|
|Total, swda* q/q, m/m||n.a.||n.a.||n.a.||n.a.||1.0%||1.4%%||-3.0%|
|A. Food stores||-3.6%||-9.6%||-6.8%||2.4%||1.7%||-0.4%||0.6%|
|B. Non-food stores||-9.7%||-9.0%||1.7%||1.6%||0.6%||8.7%||-2.5%|
|C. Car fuel||-19.7%||3.3%||-1.6%||6.2%||-3.9%||-2.4%||-13.0%|
|Source: INS, *seasonally and workday adjusted|
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