RIO DE JANEIRO, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's retail sales, one of the driving motors of the country's economy, fell 0.6 percent in May due to a truckers' strike, Brazilian officials said on Thursday.
It was the first decline in the sector this year, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
According to IBGE, the drop in May is attributed to an 11-day strike by thousands of truckers that took place at the end of that month. The truckers were protesting an increase in gas prices.
The government estimated that the strike resulted in losses to the country's economy totaling 15.9 billion reals (4.1 billion U.S. dollars).
However, retail sales in May rose 2.7 percent compared to the same period of the year before, resulting in increases for the 14th consecutive time, according to the IBGE report.
In comparison to April, six of the eight areas that were looked at saw a decline in sales. Topping the list were books, newspapers, magazines and stationary that saw a 6.7 percent decline, while gas and lubricants fell 6.1 percent.
At the same time, the area of supermarkets, food products, drinks and tobacco saw a growth of 0.6 percent in May, while personal and domestic products remained the same.
The retail sector was the hardest hit during the 2015 and 2016 economic crisis, resulting in increased unemployment and a decrease in domestic consumption.
In 2015, retail sales fell 4.3 percent and 2016 saw a 6.2 percent decrease. Retail sales began rebounding in 2017 when sales grew 2 percent which helped grow the country's economy by 1 percent.