Brazil: Retail sales growth disappoints in March
Retail sales (excluding cars and construction) increased 0.3% from the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms in March, a mild increase from February’s flat growth. The result undershot market expectations of a stronger 0.8% increase and increases fears that the economy had another weak quarter in Q1.
The modest increase was driven chiefly by rising sales of pharmaceutical, medical and cosmetic articles, and sales of office equipment and supplies. In contrast, most other categories posted lower sales in March, including food, beverages and tobacco.
On an annual basis, retail sales dropped 4.5% in March, notably contrasting February’s 3.9% expansion. Annual average growth in retail sales accordingly fell from 2.4% in February to 1.3% in March.