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LatinNews Daily - 14 April 2021

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In brief: Brazil’s retail trade picks up in February

* Brazil’s national statistics institute (Ibge) has released the latest figures on retail trade, according to which the volume of sales expanded 0.6% in February compared with January, after contracting 0.2% month-on-month in January. This is the first positive monthly variation after two months of negative results in the retail sector. In year-on-year terms, retail trade fell 3.8%, but has accumulated a positive variation of 0.4% in the 12 months to February, standing above pre-coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic levels. The Ibge’s research manager on retail trade, Cristiano Santos, notes that the retail sector performed well between May and October last year, after the initial hit from the pandemic and buoyed by government emergency transfers which boosted consumption, but began to decline as government aid dried up at the end of the year. February usually sees an uptick in retail trade compared with January, Santos noted, adding that the return to school helped drive this. But this year, many schools have since closed again as local authorities have tightened restrictions in a bid to contain a virulent second wave of Covid-19 infections.