China’s new-vehicle sales fall for 10th straight month as trade row persists

TOKYO, NNA - New vehicle sales in China tumbled for the 10th consecutive month in April, as Chinese consumers were skittish about spending amid heightened uncertainty over the economic outlook caused by the trade dispute with the United States.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers released the latest monthly data on Monday.

Key points:

-- Combined sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles fell 14.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.98 million units in April, with the pace of decline accelerating from a 5.2 percent drop in March. Sales of passenger cars decreased 17.7 percent to 1.57 million units, while those of commercial vehicles increased 0.1 percent to 405,600 units.

-- The association noted that the sharper decline in April was in part the flip side of a production and sales push in the previous month by automakers in a bid to book earnings by the end of the March quarter. Consumers also sat on the sidelines, hoping to see the government draft economic stimulus measures, it said.

-- China’s new vehicle sales have posted a double-digit percentage decline in seven of the past eight months.

-- Overall production of automobiles fell 14.5 percent to 2.05 million units in April from a year earlier, while output of passenger cars tumbled 17.0 percent to 1.66 million units, and that of commercial vehicles fell 1.8 percent to 391,600 units.

Takeaway:

-- The sustained slump in new-vehicle sales came despite the decision by the government to cut the value-added tax for manufacturers to 13 percent from 16 percent.

-- The near-term outlook for Chinese retail sales remains grim. Global stock markets fell on Monday amid the escalating U.S.-China trade row.

-- China announced retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products and said it will increase tariff levels to a maximum 25 percent from the current 10 percent, starting June 1. Washington raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent on Friday.

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