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HUNGARY MARCH RETAIL SALES UP 16.2% YR/YR

 

Retail sales in March grew by an annual 16.2% from a low base, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Wednesday. Calendar-year data also showed 16.2% growth. Food sales
increased by 0.2%, non-food sales by 29.7%, while vehicle fuel sales jumped by 51.4%.
Commenting on the data, analysts said that retail sales had grown on the back of bonuses and tax refunds paid in February, fuel tourism induced by the government price cap, the low
base, and inflation expectations. Gergely Suppan of Magyar Bankholding said retail turnover exceeded expectations in March. One-off government measures such as the PIT refund for
families raising children, the 13th month pension, and allowances for service members boosted already robust wage growth, which was around 13%, he said. Retail sales grew on the
back of price caps on fuel and basic foods near the border, where it boosted shopping tourism, he said. In view of those tendencies, Bankholding expects retail growth to be above
10% this year, he said.
Péter Virovácz of ING Bank said the two-digit jump in retail sales came after a rise of 7.3% growth in 2021, indicating that, besides the low pandemic-related base, other factors
such as fuel tourism, aid to and consumption by Ukrainian refugees, and inflation expectations may have played a role. He said the March data were likely indicative of a blip
rather than structural change, though growth at this level was “definitely unsustainable” and would raise first-quarter GDP greatly, he said.