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Retail sales up 6.3% in August, ahead of expectations

Figures

In August 2018, the volume of sales in retail shops increased by 6.3% according to raw data, and by 6.8% adjusted for calendar effects, compared to August 2017, a first estimate of monthly retail trade data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH) reveals. Sales growth accelerated from 5.4% in July.

The volume of sales, adjusted for calendar effects, rose by 4.1% in specialized and non-specialized food shops, by 10.7% in non-food retail, and by 6.2% in automotive fuel retail in August.

In January-August 2018, retail sales rose an unadjusted 6.6% and an adjusted 6.7% compared to the first eight months of 2017. Adjusted food sales were up 4.0%, non-food sales climbed 9.9%, and fuel sales rose 7.0%.

Business and economic news site vg.hu cites an analysis by ING describing the August figure as significantly in excess of market expectations. Overall, it adds, economic performance in the third quarter may end up painting a somewhat more favorable picture than the previous monthʼs data may have led us to believe. At the same time, however, ING notes that signs of a slowdown are still discernible in the sector.

Among sub-sectors of retail, ING notes that the largest improvement was seen in food sales, showing an expansion slightly above average in the year to date, while non-food sales continue to show their now customary strong growth, also above the average pace.

All this signifies that consumption may remain one of the most important drivers of the economy, the analysis concludes.

ING Bank chief analyst Péter Virovácz was cited by national news agency MTI as predicting growth of 6-7% in the coming months and a 6.9% increase for the full year.

TakarékBank analyst Gergely Suppan concurred that dynamic growth could continue in the coming months, putting full-year growth at 6.2% for 2018, albeit dropping to 4.5% for 2019.

A second, more detailed estimate of retail figures for August 2018 will be published by the KSH on October 24.

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