December 5, 2023 – Last month, according to the “flash” assessment of state statisticians, brought a slight decrease in prices of goods and services in Croatia on which the inflation calculation is based, while compared to the same month last year, the growth of consumer prices slowed down to 4.7 percent.
As Poslovni writes, on the first day of the month, the Tax Administration publishes data on consumption measured by the fiscal turnover of entrepreneurs in the previous month, and for November they say that invoices paid by cards and cash were worth a little less than 2.9 billion euros. This is about 360 million euros or 14 percent more than in November last year.
A slight slowdown
A more detailed review according activity shows that the increase in reported turnover in retail trade, which usually accounts for approximately half of the total in the system, grew at a somewhat slower pace; in total, retail sales (excluding motor vehicles) recorded a 13.4 percent higher turnover compared to November 2022 (1.46 vs. 1.29 billion euros).
At the same time, the growth rate of the turnover that passed through the fiscal cash registers of supermarkets and hypermarkets was somewhat slower – the realized 680 million euros in year-on-year comparisons represents an increase of 11 percent. It should be noted that merchants achieved this increase in turnover on a slightly smaller number of invoices issued last November.
How much turnover growth rates reflect a real increase in consumption, and how much they reflect price growth from data, cannot be reliably estimated, because they do not look at the structure of purchased goods and paid services.
Be that as it may, if cumulative data is observed, the growth rates of fiscalized traffic this year, marked by a slowdown in inflation, have recorded a slight slowdown in recent months. At the moment, growth is slightly below 20 percent, while for example in the first half of the year, it was slightly above 20 percent.
In the first 11 months, businesses in all activities recorded a total of more than 36.8 billion euros in turnover through fiscal cash registers, which is about six billion euros more than last year or, in percentage terms, 19 percent more.
In the hospitality industry, for example, the growth rates of reported traffic were significantly higher. With 6.6 percent more invoices issued in this activity, fiscalized turnover increased by 23 percent compared to last year, from 2.82 to 3.47 billion euros. If only November is observed, in annual comparisons, invoices worth 189 million euros were issued, which is 24 percent more than last year.
A signal of undervaluation
In the retail trade activity, 15 percent more turnover was achieved on a slightly smaller number of issued invoices compared to last year. In retail chains, on the other hand, the number of accounts was slightly higher than last year, while turnover increased by 18 percent.
Data are read by many as a signal of a certain underestimation of official inflation. At the same time, statistical data on retail sales are available for the first ten months. According to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, from the beginning of the year to the end of October, nominal retail sales increased by 12.4 percent compared to last year, and in real terms by 2.9 percent.