Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/03/2014 -- Retail markets in Latin America are expanding quickly in light of rapidly increasing disposable income, population growth (especially in urban areas), aspirational purchasing, easier access to credit and the development of a modern retail infrastructure, and although not one of the best opportunities in the region we believe Venezuela is no exception to this, and we perceive it as having a number of attractive investment opportunities.
The new Venezuelan retail report provides an extensive and comprehensive forecast of various retail indicators including household spending, and headline total spending across each retail subsector, household income and employment forecasts, demographic forecasts, and a detailed breakdown of household and per capita spending across a large number of retail areas including food & drink, healthcare and insurance, consumer electronics, toys, pets, gardens, household goods, and a number of other subsectors.
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We have made substantial downward revisions to our real GDP growth outlook on Venezuela, following the release of below-expectations Q113 data, which suggest that near-recessionary conditions will prevail in the economy this year. We now forecast real GDP growth to come in at 1.0% in 2013, down from our previous 2.6% estimate, and 2.1% in 2014, compared with 2.8% expected previously.
However, we believe the retail sector in Venezuela has benefited from the comparatively high GDP growth rates of the past few years, as proceeds from the windfall oil revenues were redirected into the non-oil economy. Bumper oil receipts and a policy of income redistribution over the review period caused sales at mass grocery retail outlets, for example, to grow quickly. However we note that would-be entrants will continue to be discouraged by the government policy of expropriating retail developments and the state run retail developments which will continue to challenge private retailers.
Venezuelan residents rely heavily on imports for essential household goods, and we expect a weaker currency to continue to drive average inflation, which reached an estimated 33% in 2013. Moreover, food prices have been particularly sensitive to a weaker bolivar, which we expect will keep social tensions high and continue posing threats to political stability through anti-government demonstrations.
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