Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Monday, 19 June 2017

New car sales doing record high burn-offs

Cashed up Aussies

When there is clear-cut evidence of financial stress rising, I'm the first to post about it

But it's increasingly clear that we're only being fed half a story here, and consumers are far from tapped out. 

We've reached the daft situation where bad news (e.g. falling car sales last month, ignoring the weather impact) is reported as a "canary in the coalmine", but strong results are dismissed as fake, or more often, "just like Ireland".

The full picture includes that Australian household wealth reached $9.4 trillion in the first quarter of this year - soon to surpass double the level seen at the nadir in 2009 - while currency & deposits have been piling up to the extent that Aussie households are now sitting on a 'cash' pile exceeding $1 trillion for the first time on record. 

Personal credit growth has also been tracking along in negative territory for quite some time. 

It's not hard to see why: mortgage rates have essentially halved since 2009 for many homeowners, which is why I can't buy into the 'everyone is in financial stress' narrative - it just doesn't make sense. 

Record car sales

In May new motor vehicle sales surged to 100,476 on a seasonally adjusted basis, the highest monthly figure ever recorded, so it looks like the canary just came to.


Total new Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) sales have bolted to a record high of nearly 447,000.


Queensland sales rebounded by 5 per cent in May after inclement weather in early April, while over the past 12 months Victoria has been the strongest performer, with annual sales rising by 4 per cent year-on-year to a record high of 330,711. 

While New South Wales recorded the highest number of sales over the year to May at 396,585, there is a stack of mounting evidence that the momentum in the economy has shifted towards Melbourne. 


New car sales continued to decline by 7 per cent year-on-year on rolling annual basis in Western Australia, while production volumes continue to fade away towards zero as automotive assembly Down Under is gradually wound up. 


The wrap

There may be a case for Uber drivers accounting for some of this month's record sales, while home equity redraw may also have played a role (not sure about that, as generally banks have been closing up the purse strings, not the other way around). 

Overall, though, it was a monumental month of new motor vehicle sales breaking all previous records, while personal credit growth is actually in decline. Witch hunt!