KSH: February retail sales volume up 6.7%* y.o.y.

Analysis

The Central Statistics Office (KSH) released a preliminary estimate for retail sales in February 2014; on headline-reading, said estimate put the volume of retail sales as increasing 6.7% year-on-year. Further, sales volumes increased by 8.4% y.o.y. in food, drinks and tobacco shops; 4.4% in non-grocery retail trade; and 6.4% in automotive fuel retail.

But not even the eagle-eyed are required to notice a suspiciously high overall increase, the highest jump (in a traditionally low purchase-volume month, no less) since September 2005.

Additionally, recent rises in the economic indicator may be noted: See December 2013 (with an 1.8% y.o.y. increase in retail sales volume), October 2013 (up 2.5%) and September 2013 (0.3%); also different is the sudden lumping-in of tobacco shops with food and beverages for the sake of statistical reportage. 

Since March 10, KSH has relied solely on data from the National Tobacco Sales Non-Profit (NTSN), the umbrella comptroller organization for the central government. Certainly NTSN would have little reason to cook the books on tobacco sales in Hungary, but drops seen in recent months post-national shop scheme will not be, let’s say, so evident.

In its official briefing, KSH noted that “As a result of the tobacco sales-related methodological changes, the volume index of retail sales was up 2.4% y.o.y. for the month.” Quite a statistical adjustment, then…

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