Retail sales markedly above expectations

In accordance with the Polish Central Statistical Office's (GUS) data that have been released today, retail sales in enterprises employing more than 9 people increased in current prices by 9.7% YoY in October vs. a 5.6% increase in September, running significantly above our forecast (7.5%) and the market consensus (8.1%). The sales growth rate in constant prices rose to 7.8% YoY in October vs. 3.6% in September.

End of a temporary slump in car sales

A positive surprise has been a significant acceleration in sales growth in the category "motor vehicles, motorcycles, parts” to 9.7% in October from -4.3% in September. This branch recorded a slump in sales in September, due to the new emission standards taking effect on 1 September 2018. The acceleration in sales is particularly interesting in the context of significant delays in obtaining certification for vehicles, as reported by the automotive concerns. In effect, retail sales dynamics in the automotive industry returned in October to a level consistent with the trajectory observed before the shock. It should be pointed out that the recovery of retail sales in the automotive branch has likely resulted also from higher sales of used and not only new cars, as data on the number newly registered passenger cars suggested their further although slight year-on-year decline (-1.5% in October vs. -26.4 in September).

Other sales categories are also doing fine

Other sales categories also recorded higher sales dynamics. The recovery in sales growth was supported by favourable calendar effects, good situation in the labour market (see MACROpulse of 19/11/2018), optimistic consumer sentiment (the leading consumer confidence indicator in October reached the highest level since June 2018), disbursements under the "Good Start” program (PLN 300 per child), and a lower number of non-trading Sundays than in September. In the next MACROmap we will present an analysis of the impact of this last factor on retail sales.

Consumption to accelerate in Q4?

The dynamics of real retail sales stood above its average value in Q3 (5.8% YoY). In addition, the measures of core sales we use, including retail sales excluding cars, point to a marked acceleration in sales growth in October in annual terms. This signals that the rebound in consumer demand is still strong. Combined with the sound labour market data released on Monday, it poses a slight upside risk to our forecast of consumption dynamics in Q4 (4.7% YoY vs. 4.8% in Q3).

In our view, today's retail sales reading is slightly positive for PLN and bond yields.

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