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Hungarian November retail sales rose slower on austerity plan

Hungarian retail sales rose at the slowest pace in almost six years in November as the government's austerity measures curbed disposable incomes.

Retail sales rose 2.2% from the same month of 2005, slowing from 2.3% in October, the Budapest-based statistics office said in an e-mailed statement today. That's the slowest pace since December 2000. The monthly increase was 0.2% in November. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány has raised taxes and utility bills to reduce the European Union's widest budget deficit.

The measures resulted in higher prices for products such as natural gas, electricity, medicines and public transport. That drove the inflation rate to a two-year high. Sales of books, newspapers and stationary were 4.7% lower in November than a year earlier, the second monthly decline. Second-hand goods sales rose the fastest, at 13.4%, while stockpiling in anticipation of higher costs drove drug sales up 12.7% from November 2005. (Bloomberg)