MexECON Blog

March Retail Sales Rise 0.3 Percent

Mexican retail sales rose by a seasonally-adjusted 0.3% in March, erasing their 0.1% decline in February.  However, the rise in March was not enough to offset the weakness in the sector during late 2012 and early 2013.  Without seasonal adjustments, but stripping out price changes, sales in March were still down 2.4% from the same month one year earlier.  The retail subsectors posting the biggest year-over-year declines in March were metal and glass products; recreational, paper, and personal products; motor vehicles, fuels, and lubricants; food and beverages; and furniture, domestic appliances, and computers.  Sales rose from the previous year for clothing, footwear, and textiles; healthcare; and department stores.

At the wholesale level, March sales jumped 1.5%, erasing their 0.9% decline in February and marking their strongest gain since April 2012.  Nevertheless, wholesale receipts in March were down 9.9% year-over-year.

Comment:  The month-over-month rise in wholesale and retail trade during March is probably less than meets the eye.  Some of the increase probably stemmed from the Easter holiday, which seasonal adjustments often do not handle well.  In addition, one month of increases is not enough to show that commerce is in a sustained rebound.  At least a couple more months of increases would be necessary to suggest that.  The rise in March activity is welcome, but a true rebound in wholesale and retail trade would probably require a reacceleration in hiring and a cooling off of inflation, and those developments are not unfolding quickly.

Patrick Fearon, CFA
Vice President, Fund Management

                                                 Mexican Retail Sales
                                          Seasonally Adjusted, 2003 = 100
                                                      Source:  INEGI
Retail Sales 1303

                                            Mexican Wholesale Sales
                                       Seasonally Adjusted, 2003 = 100
                                                     Source:  INEGI
Wholesale Sales 1303

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