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BRASILIA, June 13 Retail sales in Brazil
unexpectedly rose in April, recovering much of the steep losses
of the previous two months and fueling hopes of an economic
rebound, data showed on Tuesday.
Retail sales volumes excluding cars and building materials
rose 1.0 percent in April from March, government statistics
agency IBGE said, compared with forecasts for a drop of 0.55
percent by economists polled by Reuters.
The monthly growth rate was the fastest for April in nine
years, IBGE said.
The institute also revised up March data to show a drop of
1.2 percent, instead of the 1.9-percent decline originally
reported. Sales dropped 0.4 percent in February.
Consumption has decreased over the past year as a deep
recession left a record 14 million Brazilians unemployed.
Economists expect consumer spending to start recovering in
coming months as interest rates and inflation drop, helping the
economy gain speed.
Data earlier this month showed Brazil's annual inflation
rate tumbled more than expected in May to 3.6 percent, the
lowest in 10 years.
As a result, supermarket sales rose 2.0 percent in April, up
from a decline of 5.6 percent in March, IBGE said.
"Lower inflation has restored consumers' purchasing power,"
IBGE economist Isabella Nunes said.
Sales grew 1.9 percent from a year earlier ,
compared with expectations for a 1.3 percent drop.
A broader retail sales measure that includes cars and
building materials rose 1.5 percent in April from March after a
0.8 percent decline in the previous month.
(Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Bernadette Baum)