BRASILIA, March 3 (Reuters) - A retail sales index in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, fell 9.2 percent in February from a year earlier due to earlier carnival holidays and an increase in energy and transportation prices, local retail association ACSP said on Tuesday.
ACSP, which bases its index on consumer credit data, said that due to calendar effects the full impact of higher inflation will not be clear until the end of March.
The most recent government data showed retail sales volumes fell at the sharpest pace on record in December, capping their weakest year since 2003 as a slowing economy weighed on consumption, until recently Brazil’s main engine of growth.
ACSP also said retail sales in February fell 15.5 percent when compared with January.
The increase in government-administered prices such as fuel, electricity and public transportation rates pushed monthly inflation to a 12-year high in the month-long period to mid-February.
President Dilma Rousseff is unwinding price controls to add transparency to her policies and regain the confidence of wary investors.
In 2014 retail sales volumes grew 2.2 percent over the previous year, the slowest rate in 11 years and far below the average 7.5 percent growth rate of the previous 4 years.
Retail sales in Sao Paulo will likely recover in March from a year ago because 2014 carnival celebrations fell in March, ACSP said, which tallies the data on amounts sold in the country’s currency. (Reporting by Alonso Soto Editing by W Simon)