In 2009 the turnover of Brazilian retail trade grew 5.8%. It was the lowest rate since 2004, mainly due to the reduction in sales caused by the world economic crisis. The information was culled from the Serasa Experian research company’s Trade Activity Indicator.
The furniture, household appliances and computers segment grew 12.8%. Retail sales of textiles, clothing, shoes and accessories, and vehicles, motorcycles and parts grew 7.9%. There were reductions in sales of fuels and lubricants (- 2%) and building material (- 13.7%).
According to the Serasa Experian, the good performance in retail trade in the second half of 2009 was not enough to compensate the losses caused by the effects of the international economic crisis.
In December, the turnover of retail trade grew 2.4% in comparison with November. The result was driven by furniture, household appliances and computers, which recorded growth of 3.3% compared with the previous month. Other segments that helped the performance last month were vehicles, motorcycles and parts (2.8%) and building material (2.9%).
In comparison with December 2008, retail trade grew 10.8% last month. The highlights were vehicles, motorcycles and parts (+ 22.9%); textiles, clothing, shoes and accessories (+ 22.2%); and furniture, household appliances and computers (+ 20.6%).
Brazil’s Central Bank announced that the country’s foreign exchange reserves by the end of 2009 reached a record-high figure of US$ 239.054 billion, growth of US$ 32.248 billion compared with 2008, when Forex reserves totaled US$ 206.806 billion.
A significant share of the growth was due to the resumption of purchases of dollars in the spot market by the Central Bank. According to the Flow of Foreign Exchange Bulletin, by December 24th, the country had received an inflow of US$ 28.89 billion, of which US$ 26.9 billion consisted of additional reserves.
Throughout the year, the purchases of dollars were also regarded as a means to contain the devaluation of the United States currency against the Brazilian real, which lost 25% of its value over the course of last year, leading Brazilian products to lose competitiveness in the international market.