Mexican retail sales jumped by a seasonally-adjusted 2.1% in
January, erasing their revised 0.8% decline in December and marking
their strongest increase since November 2013. On an
unadjusted, constant-price basis, sales in January were up a
healthy 4.7% from the same month one year earlier. The retail
subsectors posting the strongest year-over-year sales gains in
January were on-line and catalogs; food, beverages, and tobacco;
and clothing, footwear, and textile goods. The only retail
subsector to post a year-over-year sales decline in January was
home décor, domestic appliances, and computers.
At the wholesale level, January sales edged up 0.1%, after a
rise of 0.7% in December. Wholesale receipts in January were
up 2.2% year-over-year.
The report was released today by INEGI, the official statistics
Comment: As I have been
expecting, it seems that the sharp decline in Mexican unemployment
since last summer is finally boosting consumer demand.
Joblessness in Mexico fell from 5.1% last July to just 4.4% in
December and January, and consumer confidence has been on the
rise. It should therefore be no surprise that retail activity
is on the upswing. Of course, the recent numbers may have
been skewed by the difficulty of seasonal adjustments around the
holidays. Nevertheless, retail sales still seem to have
regained their upward momentum in recent months. That should
help support Mexican economic growth in the coming months.
Patrick Fearon, CFA
Vice President, Fund Management