Venezuela: Car sales tumble to lowest level in over a decade
March 6, 2014
The free fall in car sales continued in February, plunging 89.9% over the same month last year and reaching just 817 units according to figures from the Venezuelan Automotive Chamber (CAVENEZ, Camara Automotriz de Venezuela). The reading followed the 87.0% decline recorded in January and marked the sharpest drop since December 2002. In the 12 months up to February, car sales reached just 86,817 units, which was 31.2% lower than the level observed in the same period last year (January: -27.5% year-on-year) and marked the lowest level since May 2004. Car sales currently total less than a fifth of the 491,899-unit peak recorded in the full year 2007. Extreme supply shortages following government restrictions on both assembly plants and importers have severely hampered sales of vehicles in recent years. Given the limited availability of timely data for the real sector, analysts often use car sales as a proxy for private consumption. LatinFocus Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to expand 0.4% this year, which is down 0.1 percentage points from the previous month's estimate. In 2015 the panel sees private consumption growth at 2.9%.