RIO DE JANEIRO, March 30 Retail sales in Brazil
fell unexpectedly in Brazil in January, in another signal that
the economic recovery expected to start this year could be
weaker than expected.
Retail sales volumes excluding cars and building materials
in Brazil fell 0.7 percent in January from December, government
statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.
Economists in a Reuters poll expected a rise of 0.6 percent.
Sales plunged 7 percent from January 2016, compared with
expectations for a 4.15 percent drop in the Reuters poll.
Brazil's economy is widely expected to start recovering this
year from its worst recession on record. Industrial output has
improved, as expected, but services activity fell at a record
speed in January, data showed earlier this month.
Retailers and service providers have struggled with
record-high unemployment and interest rates that still rank
among the highest in the world. The central bank expects
commerce to grow just 0.7 percent this year after a 6.3-percent
drop in 2016, according to estimates published earlier on
An index measuring inventories at retailers operating in
Brazil's largest city, São Paulo, rose in March as weak economic
growth continued to hamper consumption, industry group
Fecomércio-SP said earlier this week.
A broader retail measure that includes sales of cars and
building materials, which are considered to be more volatile,
fell 0.2 percent in January from December, IBGE said.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Silvio Cascione;
Editing by W Simon and Bernadette Baum)