Romania’s retail sales unexpectedly robust in March
The retail sales index increased by 7.3% y/y in March, the steepest growth seen since last May, Romania’s statistics office INS announced. This contributed to an overall 5.2% y/y advance in the first quarter of the year, after 4.2% y/y in Q4.
The much slower growth rates in January (+5.1% y/y) and particularly February (+3.0% y/y) supported expectations for subdued consumption amid high inflation and higher energy bills.
However, the net wages rose more or less in line with inflation, and the energy bills have not increased as much as expected – partly because of the warmer weather but also because of the government-financed subsidy scheme.
In Q1, the 5.2% y/y overall growth was driven by robust food sales (+7.3% y/y), while the sales of non-food goods have increased significantly as well: by +6% y/y. The car fuel sales remained constant from last year.
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