September 13, 2018 / 1:02 PM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil July retail sales unexpectedly down as recovery underwhelms

BRASILIA, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Retail sales in Brazil unexpectedly declined in July as the nation’s economic recovery continued to underwhelm ahead of key presidential elections.

Sales dropped 0.5 percent from June, government statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted a 0.3 percent increase.

The result highlights how even record-low interest rates are proving insufficient to bolster Brazil’s bounceback from its deepest recession in decades as unpredictable elections sap consumer sentiment.

Five of the eight categories tracked by IBGE fell in the month, with furniture and home appliances — durable goods that are typically most sensitive to funding costs and the long-term outlook — fell 2.5 percent, weighing the most on overall sales.

Sales fell 1.0 percent from the year before, IBGE said, compared to a consensus forecast for a 1.2 percent increase. (Reporting by Bruno Federowski Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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