(Reuters) – Retail sales in Brazil dropped for a second straight month in April, highlighting the weak state of Latin America’s largest economy as one of its main growth engines rapidly loses steam.
Retail sales volumes in Brazil fell 0.4 percent in April from March, twice as much as the 0.2 percent expected in a Reuters polls, the statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.
Higher interest rates, stubborn inflation and dwindling confidence have weighed on consumers, depriving the Brazilian economy of one of its few reliable sources of growth.
Food and supermarket sales dropped 1.4 percent from March as rising prices continued to dent consumers’ purchasing power, while fuel sales declined 0.8 percent.
A broader measure of retail sales including automobiles and building material rose 0.6 percent from March, IBGE said. Yet, seven out of the ten retail sectors surveyed saw lower sales in the month.
Combined with falling industrial output, the numbers suggest that Brazil’s economy saw little if any growth in the beginning of the second quarter.
April’s retail sales rose 6.7 percent from the year-earlier period, the IBGE added.