South Africa Retail Sales Growth Slows

13 June 2012 17:00 - Florence Fullalove

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South Africa Retail Sales Growth Slows

Statistics South Africa said today that South African retail sales grew at the slowest pace in more than two years in April as rising unemployment and fuel and electricity costs weighed on consumer spending. Sales rose 1% from the same time a year earlier, down from 6.7% in March. Sales rose 1.5% in April and spending was higher as the agency said there more public holidays last year.

Johannes Khosa, an economist at Nedbank Group ltd. said of the results, “This is going to put very serious downward pressure on growth.” He added that is it continues to weaken it will increase pressure on the Reserve Bank to lower the benchmark rate. The central bank has kept the rate at 5.5% for a record 18 months to shore up a recovery from a recession in 2009 that is under threat from the debt crisis in Europe.

Growth in retail sales, the fastest expanding part of South Africa’s economy in 2011, slowed in the first quarter. Mining also slumped for a 10th straight month in April and manufacturing also shrunk in March. The number of people employed in South Africa’s economy fell 75,000 to 13.42 million in the first quarter, which lifted the unemployment rate to 25.2%, the highest in almost a year.

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