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Singapore Retail Sales Rise at Faster Pace as Jobs Spur Spending

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Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore’s retail sales growth accelerated in June as an expanding job market encouraged purchases of luxury goods, telephones and computers.

The retail sales index rose 10.9 percent from a year earlier after climbing a revised 9.6 percent in May, the Statistics Department said in a statement today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of nine economists was for an 11 percent gain.

Tourists are visiting the city in record numbers, drawn by Genting Singapore Plc and Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s casino complexes on the island, which include shopping malls, hotels and restaurants. Employers have expanded payrolls to meet demand for goods and services after a record pace of economic growth in 2010, boosting wages and increasing consumer spending.

“A high number of tourist arrivals in June meant that arrivals averaged above the one million mark for the year, continuing the strong trend in retail sales thus far this year,” Chester Liaw, an economist at Forecast Pte in Singapore, said before the report. “Apart from the integrated resorts and casinos, tourists were likely drawn in by the Great Singapore Sale. The June school holidays is also expected to contribute to the absolute amount spent on recreation.”

Average wages before adjusting for inflation rose 8.5 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, the Ministry of Manpower said in June. The economy added an estimated 22,800 jobs last quarter, after the creation of 28,300 in the first three months of 2011.

Adjusted for seasonal factors, overall retail sales rose 1.6 percent in June from May, when they fell a revised 0.8 percent, today’s report showed.

The index measuring purchases excluding automobiles rose 10.4 percent from a year earlier after climbing a revised 7.8 percent in May.

Singapore controls pollution and congestion on its roads by selling limited permits for each automobile category, and the quotas may distort sales figures because motor vehicles are the biggest component of the retail index, accounting for about a quarter of the gauge.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shamim Adam in Singapore at sadam2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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