(Adds details on TV, car sales, market reaction)
By Silvio Cascione
BRASILIA, July 16 May retail sales in Brazil
rose at the fastest pace in six months as the soccer World Cup
helped to boost sales of television sets, government data showed
Retail sales volumes in Brazil rose 0.5 percent in May from
April, the strongest increase since November 2013,
statistics agency IBGE said.
Retail sales were expected to drop by 0.1 percent in May
after falling for three consecutive months, according to the
median estimate of 21 economists.
The unexpected improvement was a welcome development for
President Dilma Rousseff, who has watched the economy slow to a
near-halt just as she campaigns for re-election.
Higher interest rates and stubborn inflation have weighed as
consumer confidence dwindled, depriving the Brazilian economy of
one of its few reliable sources of growth.
Sales of furniture and home appliances jumped 1.8 percent
from April as Brazilians snapped up new TV sets to watch the
World Cup tournament. Mother's Day, which is held in every
second Sunday of May in Brazil, also pushed up sales, IBGE said.
Eight out of 10 retail sectors surveyed saw higher sales in
the month. Still, a broader measure of retail sales, including
automobiles and building material, dropped 0.3 percent from
April due to a steep decline in car sales.
Yields on interest rate futures were little changed after
the data was released as traders stuck to bets that Brazil's
central bank will keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at
11 percent through the rest of the year. The bank's monetary
policy committee meets later Wednesday.
May's retail sales rose 4.8 percent from the year-earlier
period, the IBGE added.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Felipe Pontes;
Editing by W Simon and J Benkoe)