The retail sales, a key index of consumer market, rose by 3.4 percent year-on-year in March, the slowest pace since May 2015, due to a decline of fuel sales, according to a National Institute of Statistics (INS) report released on Friday.
In the first quarter, the retail trade growth rate slowed to 6.4 percent, from 6.9 percent in January-March 2017.
The slow pace of retail trade in March was due to a sharp decline of motor fuels sales, by 7.1 percent compared with March 2017.
Romania’s government increased by 20 percent excise duties on fuel since September 1, 2017, in desperate need of higher budget revenue.
But excise revenue grew by only 3 percent year-on-year in the first three months of this year, despite strong car sales during the last months, as drivers reduced their fuel spend.
Sales of food, beverages and tobacco rose by 11.9 percent year-on-year in March, while non-food products increased by 1.7 percent.
Compared with February, the retail trade grew by 0.6 percent in seasonally adjusted series and by 15.5 percent in gross series, a normal trend in early spring and before Easter.
In 2017, retail sales rose by 10.7 percent in Romania from the previous year.
Romania’s consumer market increased with more than EUR 10 billion in 2017, to EUR 114.5 billion, due mainly to higher wages paid by employers, recent Eurostat data show.
The “final consumption expenditure of households” index, a measure of consumer market, rose from EUR 96.5 billion in 2015 to EUR 104 billion in 2016 and to EUR 114.8 billion in 2017, according to Eurostat statistical series.