Slovak retail sales rebounded to a 1.1% y/y growth in April 2013 following annual declines in the preceding 10 consecutive months, data from the country’s statistics office showed. The reading was affected mostly by a 4.9% y/y growth in fuel sales, by a 4.2% y/y increase in sales of “other goods” in specialised stores, and by a 1.4% y/y rise in non-specialised stores’ sales, the statistics office said.
On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, April’s retail sales grew by 0.4% following a 0.6% decline in March.
IntelliNews comment: Slovak retail sales fell by 1% last year to EUR 17.93bn, despite the country’s solid economic recovery during the first half of the year, as persistent high jobless rates and falling real wages dampened household consumption. The recovery in retail sales to growth in April is a bit surprising, given the sluggish economy and the high level of unemployment. It may be partly related to the 0.3% annual growth in real wages in Q1, the first in more than two years. However, we should look at whether an improving trend can be sustained or the April data was just a temporary exception. As a whole, we do not expect domestic consumption to recover in the near term, as it will remain depressed by the government's austerity drive and by the slow economic growth, reflecting subdued external demand.
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