Chinese auto sales were down for the third month in a row in September. The slowdown could be a sign of declining consumer confidence in China, or even worse, the beginning of a slowdown in the economy. Trefor Moss writes in The Wall Street Journal:
Auto sales in China fell for a third straight month in September, as the country’s auto sector faces what looks to be its first yearly decline in passenger-car sales in almost three decades.
Fragile consumer confidence amid a falling stock market and U.S.-China trade tensions led to weak September results for most auto makers, as overall sales fell 11.6% from a year earlier to 2.39 million vehicles, the government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday.
That followed declines of 3.8% in August and 4% in July. For the first nine months of the year, sales increased 1.5% on a strong performance in the first half.
“We underestimated the impact” of China’s slowing economy, said Xu Haidong, the association’s assistant secretary-general. Its full-year forecast was for growth of 3%, but he said that is now unrealistic.
Passenger-car sales fell 12% to 2.06 million in September, for a third-quarter decline of 7.6%.
Nomura Securities Co. said Thursday it expects fourth-quarter sales to fall 7.5%, resulting in a full-year decline of 1.6%, which would be the first annual decline for China’s passenger-car market since 1990, Consumers are delaying vehicle purchases because of anxiety about the economy, Nomura said.
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