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Economy in Brief

Lower Gasoline Prices Fueled U.S. Vehicle (Truck) Sales
by Tom Moeller October 4, 2006

U.S. sales of light vehicles in September rose 3.5% to 16.63M units, according to the Autodata Corporation. The gain recovered a piece of the prior month's 6.5% decline and during the first nine months of 2006 vehicle sales averaged 16.63M, down 3.8% from the comparable period during.

A forty cent m/m decline in retail gasoline prices to an average $2.56 per gallon helped lift overall light truck sales 7.5% last month after a 6.6% decline during August. Nevertheless, higher gasoline prices versus last year have prompted an 8.3% decline in light truck sales year to date versus the first nine months of last year.

Sales of the relatively fuel efficient imported light trucks surged a strong 14.4% last month (29.8% y/y) and advanced 9.8% year to date. Domestic truck sales also rose 6.3% (1.0% y/y) during September, however, during the first nine months of this year domestic light truck sales fell 10.8% from the first nine months of 2005 to an average of 7.48M.

Auto sales slipped 0.8% last month after a 6.4% decline during August. Sales of imported autos fell 5.0% (+3.4% y/y) after a 10.1% August decline. Still, year to date sales of imported autos were up 9.2% versus 2005. Domestic car sales rose 1.2% (-6.6% y/y) after a 4.5% August decline. Year to date sales of domestic autos were down 1.2% versus last year.

Imports' share of the US light vehicle market fell m/m to 23.0% during September. Last year, imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market totaled 20.4%

Inflation Targets and Inflation Expectations: Some Evidence from the Recent Oil Shocks from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) September August Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total 16.63 16.06 0.7% 16.96 16.87 16.63
  Autos 7.63 7.69 -3.6% 7.65 7.49 7.62
  Trucks 9.00 8.37 4.6% 9.32 9.37 9.01
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