Singapore’s retail sales grew more than economists estimated in March as consumers increased spending on food, clothing and telecommunication goods.
The retail sales index climbed 9.1 percent from a year earlier after gaining a revised 20.1 percent in February, the statistics department said in a statement today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 13 economists was for a 7.2 percent increase. Excluding automobiles, retail sales rose 6.5 percent from a year earlier.
Jobs growth and an expanding tourism industry have spurred spending at hotels, restaurants and department stores, helping offset a contraction in manufacturing last quarter. The island’s retail sales have been boosted by prices of car permits near record levels as the Singapore government limits the number of vehicles to control pollution and congestion.
“A rise in car sales and a rebound in tourist arrivals after seasonal weakness in January-February” supported retail growth, Wai Ho Leong, a Singapore-based senior regional economist at Barclays Plc, said before the report.
Adjusted for seasonal factors, retail sales rose 1.6 percent in March from February, when they dropped a revised 1.4 percent, today’s report showed.
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