Budapest, March 3 (MTI) – Retail sales in Hungary climbed by an annual 1.6 percent in January 2016, preliminary data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Thursday show.

Retail sales rose by 2.1 percent when adjusted for calendar year effects.

The unadjusted rise was down from 5.0 percent in December 2015.

Adjusted food sales were down by 1.5 percent in January, non-food sales climbed by 5.7 percent and fuel sales increased by 4.4 percent.

In 2015, retail sales were up by 5.7 percent according to unadjusted and rose by 5.8 percent according to adjusted data.

KSH noted that legislation requiring most big retailers to remain closed on Sundays came into force in the middle of March 2015, but said that more time and data were needed to gauge the effects of the rule.

Analysts told MTI that although the January retail data remained below expectations, retail turnover growth could accelerate in the remaining part of the year.

Gergely Urmossy of Erste Bank said the January slowdown could be a temporary effect probably related to the high base, and forecast full-year growth of 4 percent in the sector in 2016.

David Nemeth of K&H Bank said he expected retail trade growth to accelerate to around 5 percent in the remaining part of the year, in part thanks to employment and wage growth.

Gergely Suppan of Takarekbank forecast a retail trade growth rate of 3.5 percent for the full year compared to 5.8 percent in 2015. He said the reduced personal income tax rate will also lead to an increase in consumption, as real wages could grow by 4.5 percent with a 5.5-6 percent net wage growth rate and an inflation rate below 1.5 percent.


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