June 13, 2018 / 12:45 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil April retail sales beat forecasts for 2nd month

BRASILIA, June 13 (Reuters) - Retail sales in Brazil rose more than expected for a second straight month in April, allaying concerns over a slowdown early in the second quarter.

Sales rose 1 percent from March, government statistics agency IBGE said on Wednesday, surpassing the median 0.6-percent estimate in a Reuters poll of economists.

IBGE economist Isabella Nunes said the figures point to growing momentum for Brazil’s uneven recovery from its deepest recession in decades. Yet sales are still far below an October 2014 peak, suggesting there is still a long way to go.

Record-low interest rates and slow inflation have bolstered consumers’ purchasing power, helping to drive a consumption-led economic rebound.

Retail sales rose 0.60 percent from the year before, slightly above an estimate of 0.55 percent in the Reuters poll.

The annual increase came despite the lack of an Easter boost. The holiday was celebrated in March this year, but slipped to April in 2016.

Retail may have taken a hit, however, from nationwide trucker protests against high diesel prices in the final weeks of May, which all but paralyzed key industries and drove up input prices. (Reporting by Bruno Federowski Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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