2017 Economic Calendar
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Motor Vehicle Sales  
Released On 2/1/2017 For Jan, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Total Vehicle Sales18.4 M17.7 M17.0 M to 18.2 M17.6 M
Domestic Vehicle Sales14.6 M13.9 M

Consumer spending looks to start off 2017 on the defensive based on a major slowing in vehicle sales, to a 17.6 million annualized unit pace and far below December's 18.4 million rate. Sales of North American-made vehicles slowed to a 13.9 million rate from December's 14.6 million.

January's sales aren't that bad and actually match 2016's monthly average. But it's the comparison with the unusual strength of December that unfortunately points to unusual weakness for January's headline retail sales.

Consensus Outlook
Unit vehicle sales correctly foreshadowed what was a swing higher for the motor vehicle component of the December retail sales report and before that a swing lower in November. December unit sales rose sharply to a cycle best 18.4 million annualized rate. Econoday forecasters are looking for give back in January with the consensus at 17.7 million. Vehicle sales were solid throughout 2016 but still down from 2015's exceptionally strong rates.

Unit sales of motor vehicles include domestic sales and foreign sales, otherwise referred to as imports. Domestics are sales of autos produced in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Imports are U.S. sales of vehicles produced elsewhere. These are for light vehicles which include all passenger cars and light trucks up to 14,000 pounds gross weight (including minivans and sport utility vehicles). Individual manufacturers usually report sales on the first business day of the month. One of the first tabulators of the data is Autodata Corporation. Motor vehicle sales are good indicators of trends in consumer spending and often are considered a leading indicator at business cycle turning points. One should note that manufacturers do not break out vehicle sales to businesses, which are a smaller but still significant percentage of the monthly total.  Why Investors Care
Motor vehicles sales slowed notably in 2008 and 2009 due to recession. Recovery boosted sales in 2010 and early 2011 before economic growth slowed. Truck shares hit their peak in 2005 when gasoline was cheap. Trucks have since oscillated sharply with spikes in gasoline in 2008 and 2010.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/42/13/14/35/26/17/38/19/110/311/112/1
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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