Retail sales in Hungary rose 6.2% year on year in December, after adjusting for calendar year effects, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Thursday.
According to unadjusted data, retail sales rose 6.7% from 3.8% the previous month. Adjusted food sales increased by 2.7% and non-food sales increased by 8.7%. Vehicle fuel sales climbed 11.5%.
In absolute terms, retail sales reached 1,466 billion forints (4.1 billion euros) in December, at current prices, and 14,085 billion forints for the year as a whole.
For the full year, food sales increased 2.2%, non-food sales increased 4.9% and vehicle fuel sales increased 4.9%.
Commenting on the data, Péter Cseresnyés, state secretary for trade policy at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (ITM), said retail sales growth in December had reached pre-pandemic levels. Retail sales growth reached or exceeded 6% in six months last year, Cseresnyés said on Facebook. He said the government had introduced a number of measures aimed at boosting household purchasing power this year, citing as examples the 13th month pension, tax allowances for families and exemptions from income tax. personal income for those under 25.
ING Bank chief analyst Péter Virovácz said the magnitude of the increase in retail sales in December was
a “big positive surprise”.
Non-food sales were boosted by delayed purchases and larger paychecks in November, he added. The new data suggests fourth-quarter GDP could beat expectations, pushing annual growth to more than 6%, he said.
Takarekbank senior analyst Gergely Suppán said December data beat consensus, supported by labor market recovery and “dynamic” wage growth, even as rising inflation and shortages of semiconductors affecting some electronic products weighed.