Romanian August Retail Sales Rise at Fastest Pace Since 2005

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Romanian August Retail Sales Rise at Fastest Pace Since 2005

Romanian retail sales rose at the fastest annual pace since at least 2005 in August as higher wages and a surge in consumer credit prompted citizens to shop more, reported Bloomberg.

Sales increased an annual 34 percent, from a gain of 23 percent in July, the National Statistics Institute said in an e- mail today. On the month, sales growth quickened to 16 percent from 9.2 percent in July.

Sales of food, drinks and tobacco surged an annual 60 percent, from 38 percent in July, while service industry sales increased 22 percent, compared with a gain of 1 percent. Sales of non-food goods gained 10 percent, from 9.1 percent.

Consumption has risen as an inflow of investment since Romania joined the European Union on Jan. 1 strengthened the currency and boosted wages. Average net wages rose an annual 23 percent in August. The leu is up 16 percent against the dollar and 5 percent against the euro in the past year, encouraging Romanians to buy more imports.

Private debt by individuals in Romania rose an annual 50 percent in August, much of it from consumer loans, as wage growth increased Romanians' borrowing power, the central bank reported on Sept. 25.

Foreign investment has also given consumers a wider choice of products to buy and increased the number of retail outlets in the country. Retailers including Auchan SA, Carrefour SA, IKEA, Metro AG, Praktiker AG and others have announced expansions since Romania joined the EU.

Today's report doesn't include cars and engine fuels and figures aren't adjusted for any difference in the number of working days.

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