Budapest, May 4 (MTI) – Retail sales in Hungary rose by an annual 3.6 percent in March, accelerating from 0.8 percent in the previous month, data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Thursday show.
Adjusted for calendar year effects, retail sales were up by 5.6 percent, which KSH attributed to the effect of the Easter holidays. Food sales rose by 3.8 percent, non-food sales were up by 8.2 percent and vehicle fuel sales increased by 2.3 percent.
In January-March, retail sales rose by an unadjusted 3.1 percent and an adjusted 3.4 percent.
Commenting on the data, economy ministry deputy state secretary Zoltán István Marczinkó told public news channel M1 that retail sales have been growing for 45 months straight. He said the March growth rate was particularly favourable because of the high base. He projected a stable continued growth in consumption, adding that further details on the data would show that consumers tend to favour Hungarian products. He said there was more room for retail sales to grow, which he said was supported by real wage growth.
Analyst Péter Virovácz of ING Bank noted that retail sales growth reached an eleven-month peak in March, supported by dynamic wage growth and solid consumer confidence.
Gergely Urmossy of Erste Bank said he expected retail sales growth to continue in the coming months. He added that first-quarter figures confirmed that strengthening household consumption will be a key component of Hungary’s economic growth this year.
Gergely Suppán of Takarékbank forecast 4.5-5 percent retail sales growth for the full year.