Photo: Pickpik

Retail sales climb 12 percent in May

Retail sales in Hungary rose by an annual 12.0 percent in May, data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Wednesday show. Adjusted for calendar year effects, retail sales climbed 11.1 percent, showing double-digit growth for the third month in a row.

Adjusted food sales increased by 3.0 percent, non-food sales rose by 9.5 percent and vehicle fuel sales jumped 37.5 percent.

In absolute terms, retail sales came to 1,435 billion forints (EUR 3.6bn). Food sales accounted for 44 percent of the total, non-food sales for 37 percent and sales at petrol stations for 19 percent.

A detailed breakdown of the data shows clothing and footwear sales rose by 35.0 percent, sales of computers and electronics by 9.5 percent, and sales in furniture shops edged up by 1.1 percent. Sales of second-hand shops jumped by 54.0 percen, while online and mail order sales fell by 1.4 percent, albeit from a high base.

For the period January-May, retail sales rose by an annual unadjusted 11.9 percent and an adjusted 11.6 percent. Adjusted food sales increased by 2.7 percent, non-food sales rose by 14.9 percent and vehicle fuel sales climbed by 31.6 percent.

ING Bank chief analyst Peter Virovacz attributed the slowdown in retail sales growth to base effects, in part, but said it also suggests households have already spent much of the income from tax refunds and pension bonuses disbursed earlier in the year. He added that the big increase in second-hand shop sales could signal households’ initial reaction to climbing inflation.

Magyar Bankholding senior analyst Gergely Suppan said retail sales growth continues to be supported by tax refunds, pension bonuses, bonuses for police and soldiers and a wage growth over 15 percent. Purchases by, and for, refugees from Ukraine are also a factor, he added. He said the effect of petrol tourism on retail sales could weigh in June as foreign motorists are no longer allowed to top up their tanks at the regulated 480 forints per litre price.

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