Lebanon Businessnews News

Food consumption down
BTA-Fransabank retail index says fuel consumption grew by seven percent in Q2
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Retail activity was relatively static during the first half of 2012, with a nominal year-on-year increase of 0.5 percent at end-June, according to a new index prepared by the Beirut Traders Association and Fransabank.

The ‘BTA-Fransabank Retail Index’ measures the performance of the retail sector during a certain period through a number of indicators.

The performance of the retail trade sectors rose by some 3.7 percent y-o-y during the second quarter. But considering the official inflation rate over the covered period, 2.1 percent, the real improvement would stand at 1.6 percent. This slowdown in retail trade activity reflects a slowdown in the overall economic activity.

The retail activity during the first quarter had achieved a nominal increase of some 11.5 percent y-o-y. When considering the annual inflation rate during the period, four percent, the real improvement in activity would actually be 7.5 percent. The index said the improvement witnessed during the first quarter of this year was an extension of the momentum built during the last quarter of 2011.

“Given the importance of the trade sector in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), these figures clearly indicate that we shall witness a slowdown in the rate of growth of the economy as a whole during the second half of 2012,” said Nicolas Chammas, president of the BTA.

According to the index, the level of consumption of basic goods continued to grow in the second quarter of the year as compared to the same period of last year, with the exception of the food sector which saw a ten percent decline in sales. The consumption of fuel grew by seven percent in volume. The value of tobacco sales grew by around seven percent.

Luxury items witnessed a sharp decline during the second quarter, with the alcohol turnover dropping by 19 percent. Furniture and clothing retail lines saw y-o-y drop of some eight percent each, while cellular phones’ sales fell by seven percent. Car sales were the only non-basic commodity to see a rise in sales, at around ten percent.

Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Sep 05, 2012
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