Brazil retail sales surprise with 0.6% rise in November – Metro US

Brazil retail sales surprise with 0.6% rise in November

People walk past a retail store in downtown Sao Paulo
People walk past a retail store in downtown Sao Paulo

BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazilian retail sales rose in November against expectations of a monthly drop, official figures showed on Friday, even though more than half of the activities gauged had a negative result in the period with double-digit inflation dragging on consumption.

The seasonally adjusted monthly increase of 0.6% in November from October beat the median forecast of a 0.2% decline in a Reuters poll of economists.

Government statistics agency IBGE also revised October’s indicator to a 0.2% rise from a previously reported 0.1% drop.

IBGE said month-on-month sales plunged in five of the eight categories surveyed in November. The general result, however, was lifted by growth in sales of hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco, up 0.9% from the previous month.

On a year-on-year basis, the 4.2% fall in November was smaller than the 6.5% slump forecast in the poll.

Retail sales were up 1.9% from the January-November period last year, posting the same growth in the 12 months through November, and slowing down from the 2.6% advance in the 12 months through October, which indicates a weaker pace of sales, IBGE said.

On a wider basis, including cars and building materials, retail sales in November rose 0.5% from the previous month, marking the first rise after three consecutive drops, said IBGE. So far this year, the increase on the same basis was of 5.3%.

Brazil’s annual inflation hit a six-year high of over 10% in 2021, pushing the central bank into one of the most aggressive rate hike cycles in the world last year. In December, the monetary authority lifted its benchmark interest rate to 9.25% from 2% in March and signaled more tightening for this year.

Analysts have said higher prices and borrowing costs will chill consumer spending, helping to slow down Latin America’s biggest economy in 2022.

(Reporting by Marcela Ayres Editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Potter)