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Fast Comment SwedenWas poor household consumption in Q1 a temporary slump? April retail sales skyrocketed this morning

  1. Easter boost to food sales not cancelled by fall in durables, as we had expected
  2. But base case is recoil in May - Easter effect vanishes, indicators mixed and underlying weakness in overall Q1 household consumption
  3. Bottom line: we see decent consumption and retail outlook this year on the back of a strong labour market and income increases
Please see comments and graphs below!

April data showed retail sales trend soaring, but May sentiment data is mixed (remember depressed consumer confidence also) 


Source: Macrobond


A suspected Easter holiday boost to food sales lifted total retail sales, but durables sales also contributed positively - contrary to earlier reports from clothing and shoes sales firms



Easter holiday boost not visible in the data every year. But when it is, a recoil tends to follow. That suggests the base case for May retail sales is a weak outcome  


 

GDP statistics suggest very cautious Swedish consumers right now - perhaps not very surprising given the fall in consumer confidence - much of the spending growth in Sweden now due to foreigners (which is deducted from consumption and booked as exports in the GDP data)


Disclaimer

Johan Löf

Senior Economist

Sweden

jolo22@handelsbanken.se

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