Retail sales in Brazil surprise with rise of 0.6% in November

BRASILIA, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Retail sales in Brazil rose in November against expectations of a monthly decline, official figures showed on Friday, although more than half of the activities measured had a negative result in the period, with a double-digit inflation that weighed on consumption.

The seasonally adjusted 0.6% monthly increase in November versus October beat the median forecast of a 0.2% drop in a Reuters survey of economists.

Government statistics agency IBGE also revised the October indicator to a 0.2% increase from the 0.1% drop previously reported.

IBGE said monthly sales plummeted in five of the eight categories surveyed in November. The overall result, however, was driven by the growth in sales of hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco, 0.9% more than the previous month.

In year-on-year terms, the 4.2% drop in November was less than the 6.5% drop forecast in the survey.

Retail sales increased 1.9% compared to the January-November period of last year, registering the same growth in the 12 months to November and slowing down from the 2.6% advance in the 12 months to October, indicating a weaker pace of sales, said the IBGE.

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

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

(Information by Marcela Ayres. Edited in Spanish by Javier Leira)