Retail sales in Hungary rose by 4.9 percent year on year in March, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Monday.
Growth slowed from 8.4 percent in the previous month.
When adjusted for calendar year effects, retail sales were up an annual 5.9 percent in March. Adjusted food sales were up 1.0 percent, non-food sales climbed by 14.3 percent and vehicle fuel sales rose by 14.3 percent.
For the period January-March, retail sales rose by an adjusted 6.5 percent and an unadjusted 6.1 percent year on year. Adjusted food sales increased by 3.1 percent, non-food sales were up 10.6 percent and vehicle fuel sales climbed by 11.8 percent.
ING Bank senior analyst Péter Virovácz said retail sales growth in March was slower than in February and below what analysts estimated. Low food sales were responsible for the surprise but much stronger data could come out in April. For 2019 as a whole retail sales could increase by 5-6 percent.
Erste Bank junior analyst Zsombor Varga said that despite a slower pace retail sales growth is still stable, and raising wages, consumer confidence and a tight labour market continue to support domestic demand.
Takarékbank analyst Gergely Suppán attributed lower sales growth entirely to calendar year effects.
K+H Bank chief analyst Dávid Németh said
retail sales could grow by 5-5.5 percent this year mainly because of the sales of durable consumer goods.