RTTNews - Retail sales in Singapore contracted even further in April, owing to lower car sales, data released by the Department of Statistics showed Monday.

Retail sales at current prices dropped an unadjusted 11.7% year-on-year in April, at a faster pace compared to a 7.2% fall in the previous month. Economists expected a decline of 8.1%.

Motor vehicle sales, with the highest weight in the index, dipped 28.1% annually in April, after falling 8.2% in March. Further, retail sales at petrol service stations were down 20.8% compared to a 19.4% drop in the preceding month.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales dropped 4% in April compared to a 6.8% fall in March.

After adjusting for price effects, retail sales fell 13.8%, and excluding sales of automobiles dropped 3.9% in April.

Month-on-month, retail sales at current prices were down a seasonally adjusted 3.1% in April, smaller than a 5% drop in March. Economists however expected sales to rise 2%.

Sales of motor vehicles decreased 10.2%, but slower than a 20.6% fall in the preceding month. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales showed a growth of 1.1% in April compared to a 3.5% rise in the preceding month.

Meanwhile, sales in catering trade decreased 2.6% year-on-year in April compared to a 2.3% fall in March, mainly due to a 15.4% fall in sales from food caterers. Adjusting for prices effects, catering trade was down 5.4% after falling 6% in the preceding month.

Compared to March, catering trade dropped 0.2% in April, on a seasonally adjusted basis, after logging a 4.1% growth in March. At constant prices, catering trade increased 0.1% in April, slower than a 3.6% growth in March.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Manpower announced on Monday the revised jobless rate for the first quarter. The jobless rate came in at 3.3% for the first quarter, up from the 3.2% reported in April and was also higher than the 2.5% recorded in the fourth quarter. An estimated 95,700 residents lost their jobs in the first three months, a third more than the 71,800 in the fourth quarter.

At the same time, total employment dropped by 6,200 in the three months ending March, representing the first quarterly contraction in six years, as the number of workers hired was lower than the number who left their jobs, the Ministry said.

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