Moldova Retail Sales
(Source: BNS)

Retail sector turnover unexpectedly surges in Moldova

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Turnover in retail trade jumped 19% y-o-y in January of 2022 in Moldova, data published by the statistics bureau BNS showed on Monday (March 21). On a monthly basis, turnover in retail trade fell 14.7%.

The outstanding figure comes despite the rise in consumer prices. In February 2022 compared to February 2021 the average consumer prices (for the last 12 months) increased by 18.52%, including food products by 23.32%, nonfood products by 14.92% and services by 16.97%. On a monthly basis, the average consumer prices increased by 2. 07%.

Last year, retail sales increased on average by a real 10.5% compared to 2020, under the circumstances of 5.1% average inflation rate.

In a separate release the BNS said that, according to preliminary data, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), estimated for the quarter IV of 2021, amounted to 66.7 billion lei, current (market) prices. Compared to the quarter IV 2020, GDP increased, in real terms, by 18.9%  on the gross series and by 19.9%  on the seasonally adjusted series.

In 2021, the Gross Domestic Product, according to preliminary data, amounted to 241.9 billion lei, current (market) prices. Compared to 2020, in real terms, GDP in 2021 increased by 13.9%.

Retail sales are likely to come under pressure this year, as the government expects economic growth to slump to around 0.3% from nearly 14% a year earlier because of the war in neighbouring Ukraine.

Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said last week the government expects economic “stagnation, strongly influenced by developments in neighbouring Ukraine, where war is ongoing.”

More than 331,000 refugees have entered Moldova since Feb. 24 and of them 100,000 are still in the country which has a total resident population of just 2.6 million people.

More than 3.5 million people have now fled abroad from the war in Ukraine, including 2.1 million to Poland, according to the latest U.N. data. Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, which also border Ukraine, have also taken in large numbers.

“We are the single most fragile neighbour of Ukraine… we need help to stay on our feet” Nicu Popescu, the country’s foreign minister, told  The Financial Times on Tuesday (March 22).