Indonesia retail sales drop 14.6% y/y in March, better than forecast, says central bank

People wearing protective face masks shopping in Tanah Abang textile market ahead of Eid al-Fitr festival amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 3, 2021. - Reuters

JAKARTA, May 11 (Reuters): Retail sales in Indonesia fell at a slower pace of 14.6% on annual basis in March, compared with an 18.1% fall in February, a central bank survey showed on Tuesday.

Stronger fuel sales were supportive, although sales of clothes and recreational amenities continued to show drops during the month, the survey showed.

Bank Indonesia, which had forecast a 17.1% drop in sales in March, is predicting a 9.8% increase in April.

Earlier, Indonesia's consumer confidence index rose to 101.5 in April, from 93.4 a month earlier, indicating optimism returning for the first time in a year as worries over the coronavirus pandemic eased, a central bank survey showed on Monday.

A reading above 100 indicates optimists outnumber pessimists on the outlook for the economy. The index had dropped below that level since April 2020, Bank Indonesia said.

The increase in the index in April was due to respondents' better perception of current economic conditions, including job availability and higher income, the survey showed.

Indonesia's economy is also expected to grow 4.6% this year, the country's central bank governor told a virtual conference on Friday (May 7).

This is in the upper end of Bank Indonesia's initial economic growth forecast range of 4.1%-5.1% and a recovery from the 2.1% decline seen last year.

"We are optimistic that our economy will improve... The export sectors, I think will grow, alongside investments in other sectors," governor Perry Warjiyo had announced. - Reuters
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