South African retail sales exceed expectations, rates cut uncertain

By bne IntelliNews July 15, 2010
For the fifth month ina row, South African retail sales rose more than expected in May, leavinganalysts divided on a forthcoming interest rate decision. Statistics SouthAfrica reported retail sales rose 4.6% in May y/y, accelerating from a downwardlyrevised 2.9% growth in April and outpacing forecasts for a 3.7% rise. Thecountrys Monetary Policy Committee meets on July 22 to decide on interestrates. One analyst was reported saying the current low interest rateenvironment and the slowly improving levels of consumer confidence were havinga positive influence on the consumption recovery but said the situation was notstrong enough to suggest  a rates cut.Consumer spending has been seen lagging the broader economic recovery ashouseholds' indebtedness remains close to record highs and last yearsrecession caused the loss of a million jobs, it was reported.

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