Daily News Hungary economy

Budapest, August 3 (MTI) – Retail sales in Hungary climbed by 5.7 percent in June from the same month a year earlier, preliminary data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Wednesday show.

Retail sales also rose by 5.7 percent year on year when adjusted for calendar year effects.

The pace slowed from an unadjusted 6.8 percent and was unchanged from a calendar-year-adjusted 5.7 percent rise in May.

Adjusted food sales were up by 3.4 percent in June, non-food sales climbed by 9.7 percent and fuel sales increased by 3.6 percent. The increase of food and fuel sales slowed and the rise of non-food sales accelerated from the previous month.

In January-June 2016 retail sales saw an unadjusted rise of 5.3 percent.

Adjusted figures show retail sales rising by 5.2 percent, food sales by 2.8 percent, non-food sales by 8.2 percent and fuel sales by 5.7 percent in the first six months of the year.

Retail sales have expanded continuously for the past three years, and excluding weaker figures from January, growth as expanded at an annual pace of 4-5 percent during the period, economy ministry official Zoltán Marczinkó told public television M1 today.

More people are working, the personal income tax rate is lower and gross wages have risen, he said, giving possible explanations for why retail sales grew by 5.7 percent in June. Given low inflation, real wages have grown relatively more and so people have more money to spend, he added.

Analysts told MTI they expected retail sales to continue growing throughout the year because of a rise in real wages, increasing employment and stronger consumption.

Takarékbank analyst Gergely Suppán said he expects annual retail sales growth to average around 5 percent following 5.8 percent last year.

Analyst Péter Virovácz of ING Bank noted that in June the rate of seasonally adjusted growth was unchanged from May, but sales growth was still stronger than expected.

Erste Bank chief analyst Gergely Ürmössy expects retail sales in the second half of the year to expand at the same pace as the first half of the year and annual sales growth to be above 5 percent. Household consumption is expected to be the main driving force behind GDP growth this year, he added.

Source: MTI

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