Most of Europe goes on holiday in August, and so it is only now that auto sales for July and August have been reported.
As the chart above shows, the monthly sales figures continued the weak trend seen so far this year (red square):
• July’s sales of 1 million were the lowest in the 2005-11 period
• August’s sales of 750k were lower than any year except 2010
• Total sales of 8.9 million were down 1% versus Jan-Aug 2010
ACEA (Association of European Auto Manufacturers) also note that only Germany is showing any strength amongst the 5 main markets. It is up 11% in 2011, but France is at 0%, the UK down 6%, Italy down 12% and Spain down 22%.
This does not provide much confidence regarding the Q4 outlook for chemical and polymer demand in this important sector.