Brazil's Retail Sales Top Expectations with 1% Growth in March

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Retail sales in Brazil rose more than expected in March, the third straight monthly gain, despite double-digit inflation in Latin America's largest economy, official figures showed on Tuesday, Reuters reported. According to government statistics agency IBGE, sales grew 1% in March from February, more than the 0.4% increase forecast in a Reuters poll of economists. Six of the eight activities surveyed recorded growth, with computer and communication office equipment and supplies gaining 13.9%. Sales were up 4% from the same month a year earlier, also higher than the 2.1% raise predicted by economists. That resulted in a 1.3% increase in the first quarter from the same period last year. The sector also posted 1.9% growth from the previous quarter, the agency said. Financial conditions in Brazil have tightened as the country's central bank aggressively raises interest rates to curb inflation that reached 12% in mid-April. Retail sales are now 2.6% above the pre-pandemic level of February 2020. But considering the expanded retail sector, which includes cars and building materials, six sectors are below pre-pandemic levels, while four are above, Santos said. Read more.