Brazil retail growth continuing
Spurred by wage hikes and lower interest rates, retail sales in Brazil grew again in May, the second consecutive month of healthy gains in that market.
The May increase of 7.32 percent compared to May 2005 was higher than anticipated by economists, according to newswire reports from Reuters and Bloomberg. The growth was helped by a 17 percent increase in the minimum wage that took effect in April.
The May growth followed a sales increase of 7.46 percent in April.
In addition to the increase in wages, Brazil's central bank has been decreasing interest rates, which are now the lowest since 1999.
The sales increases should help increase U.S. exports to Brazil and continue the trend toward more balanced north-south trade flows between the U.S. and Brazil.