06 March 2013 17:31 [Source: ICIS news]
Butadiene (BD) and acrylonitrile (ACN) producers said on Wednesday that they were encouraged by higher February auto sales.
US auto sales rose 4% in February compared with a year ago. The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate inched up to 15.4m units.
“The US is the one bright spot in the automotive market,” one market source said Wednesday.
“The US and China are the two best growing markets for auto sales,” said another source. “We remain positive about the outlook for the US, but are unsure about China. Yes, it’s going to grow this year, but not at the rate it did last year.”
Sales at the largest US carmaker, General Motors, rose 7% year on year in February, while sales at Ford were up 9%; Toyota gained 4%; and Chrysler saw a 4% rise. Nissan/Infiniti saw February sales drop by 7% compared with a year ago, while Honda/Acura fell 2%.
Strong February sales caused forecasting firm LMC Automotive to revise upward its 2013 full-year forecast from 15.1m units to 15.3m.
“The current fundamentals that are driving strong vehicle sales,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC. He cited “pent-up vehicle demand and a stable, recovering economy” as the primary factors driving US sales higher.
A slate of new model launches and an increase in lease maturities are also expected to propel US auto sales higher in 2013.
U.S. auto sales grew 13% year over year in 2012 to 14.5m units. US auto sales were up 39% in 2012 from an industry low of 10.4m units in 2009.
February marked the fourth straight month that US auto sales have been above 15m annualized units.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) estimates that each automobile contains an average of $3,297 (€2,539) worth of chemicals, such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), nylon, polycarbonate (PC) and others.
($1 = €0.77)
By Mark Yost
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