Russian Retail-Sales Growth Accelerates on Wage, Income Gains

Russian retail-sales growth quickened more than economists predicted in November as faster- than-forecast increases in wages and incomes allowed consumers to spend more.

Sales rose 4.4 percent from a year earlier, after a revised 4 percent increase in October which was the slowest pace since January 2011, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said today in an e-mailed statement. The median forecast of 14 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 4.1 percent advance. The jobless rate rose to a four-month high of 5.4 percent, in line with analysts’ expectations, from 5.3 percent.

The world’s largest energy exporter has relied on domestic demand, buoyed by lending growth and low unemployment, to insulate the economy from Europe’s debt crisis and slowing growth in China. Gross domestic product grew 2.9 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter, the slowest pace since it began recovering at the start of 2010, because of slower farming and construction.

“All in all, the economy continues muddling through,” analysts at Troika Dialog said yesterday in an e-mailed note. “However, the development seems to be sustainable and based on increasing local demand and improving production efficiency.”

Real average wages increased 7.3 percent from a year earlier in November, the fastest pace in four months and more than a 4.9 percent median forecast, the service said. Disposable incomes advanced 6.7 percent, compared with a 2.6 percent median estimate, while fixed-capital investment grew a lower-than- projected 1.2 percent.

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