Retail sales to continue rebounding streak: OCBC

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February saw a positive 5.2% boost in retail sales, when compared to the same time period last year.

Retail sales will continue their positive rebound after having contracted for two straight years, according to OCBC Bank.

February finally saw positive numbers with a 5.2% boost in retail sales YoY attributed to Chinese New Year Celebrations and the reopening of the economy following the vaccination roll-out.

"For the full year of 2021, retail sales is still likely to rebound around 12%-13% yoy, after contracting for three straight years with 2020 recording a record 15.3% yoy contraction due to the Covid-induced recession for data going back to 1985," OCBC said in a statement.

It added that the pace of this rebound would depend on the vaccine roll-out, borders easing, and the return of leisure and meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) visitors.

It cited the World Economic Forum Special Annual Meet to be held later this year as an event that could spur retail sales growth.

OCBC said retail sales could potentially post monthly double-digit growth for the first half of the year.

"Given the very low base during the Circuit Breaker period in 2Q20, retail sales could see very buoyant on-year prints, potentially in excess of 50% yoy, before normalizing to single-digit on-year growth levels from July onwards," it said.

January 2021 marked the 24th month of continued retail sales contractions.