Actual (Jan): 0.6% y/y
Consensus: -0.2% y/y
Previous (Dec): 1.6% y/y
The retail sales slowed down to 0.6 pct. at the beginning of the year, but the growth rate is better than expected. The sales were slightly lower compared with December - they decreased by 0.2 pct. month-on-month. The internet sales slumped by nearly 20 pct., correcting the 34 pct. rise before Christmas. Also sales of pharmaceutical goods fell significantly On the other hand, sales of textiles increased by more than 8 pct. Petrol stations saw a 0.8 pct. increase in sales, while food sales were 0.2 pct. higher compared with the previous month.
The retail data has surprised positively in the last several months. However, the persistently high unemployment rate indicates that there is not much room for a significant acceleration. The growth of retail sales is still low enough to be an argument for looser monetary policy. However, the way towards lower rates is currently blocked by the government´s unfinished negotiations about the new IMF/EU loan.