Brazilian retail sales continued their recent pattern of robust growth in April, posting a gain of 1.0% against the previous month, the Brazilian Census Bureau (IBGE) said Wednesday. Retail sales had advanced 1.1% in March against February. April gains were led by big-ticket items. Information technology goods advanced 4.8% while motor vehicles rose 3.2% in the month-on-month comparison. Sales of big-ticket items have been favored by declining interest rates. Supermarket sales, meanwhile, rose 1.5% as levels of consumer debt declined. Economists said May retail sales could suffer because of a truckers’ strike that month. Rising consumer buying, however, has not been met with equal increases in investment or industrial output. According to economists, business confidence remains low because of political uncertainties ahead of October elections.
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