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Canadian auto sales estimated as being “relatively flat” in January, report says

In the U.S., meanwhile, auto sales contracted modestly in January, the report from Scotiabank says.


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February 7, 2020 by Canadian Plastics

Canadian auto sales were relatively flat in January with a 0.5% year-over-year (y/y) (nsa) increase at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.92 million units, a new report from Scotiabank said.

In its latest Auto News Flash, Scotiabank also noted that these estimates “are subject to a considerable degree of uncertainty as a majority of automakers representing more than half of total sales are no longer reporting on a monthly basis.”

Initial reports indicate solid fleet sales masked a decline in retail volume, Scotiabank said, continuing a trend in the contraction of auto purchases that was particularly pronounced in the final quarter of last year. ”While job gains in December recovered from weak November readings, wage growth pulled back,” the report said. “Consumer confidence recovered in January – likely influenced by the announcement of the US-China Phase 1 agreement – following the month-prior dip, but relatively elevated levels of sentiment in Canada have not been translating into auto sales.”

Scotiabank forecasts 1.915 million unit auto sales in Canada in 2020.

In the U.S., meanwhile, auto sales contracted modestly in January by 0.2% y/y (nsa). “On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales were up mildly by 0.9% m/m at an annualized rate of 16.85 million units,” Scotiabank said. “The headline number masks a trend slowdown that began in the last quarter of 2019 as the General Motors strike introduced considerable volatility in monthly sales. In particular, GM auto sales, which represented almost 20% of January sales, were up by a strong 13.8% y/y in January”.

Consumer confidence ticked up in January according to both Conference Board and University of Michigan surveys, Scotiabank said, with the signing of the US-China Phase 1 trade deal likely contributing to a boost in sentiment. “We currently project 16.9 million unit auto sales in 2020,” the bank said.