Jakarta. Indonesia's retail sales in March grew 4.2 percent from a year earlier, a faster pace than in February, a survey by Bank Indonesia, or BI, showed on Wednesday (10/05).
February annual retail sales grew 3.7 percent. The growth rate in March was supported mainly by the increased buying of food items, the central bank said.
The survey of 700 retailers in 10 major cities predicted that April's annual retail sales growth would be 5.4 percent, still supported by sales of food.
Survey respondents felt that price pressures were expected to increase over the next three months.
They also predicted retail sales would increase in June in line with increasing demand during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins in late May and ahead of Idul Fitri.
"Optimism over the ability of the Indonesian economy to build a domestic reliance is improving, following the news that consumers [in the country] are turning more optimistic over the local economy," said Jameel Ahmad, vice president of corporate development and market research at foreign exchange broker Forextime.
Ahmad said improved confidence should encourage further consumer spending, which accounts for more than half of the country's economy, and stoke up demand for bank' loans.