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GM focuses on low-cost autos, as European sales remain weak

Low growth and low-cost have become the dominant features of Europe’s auto market. Europe’s modest rise in auto sales continued in June, with volumes up 4.5% versus 2013.  But as the auto association reminds us, this “is the second lowest level in the month of June since reporting began in 2003“.  And the detail of the […]

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40% of US GDP growth since 2012 due to inventory build

Wild swings in key data make for great Twitter feeds.  But they don’t help the rest of us to understand what is really happening.  This week’s report on US GDP for Q2 is a good example: Q2 saw GDP up 4%, after Q1′s 2.1% decline and Q4′s 3.5% gain (blue column) But as the chart shows, the […]

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China auto market to focus on low-cost, not luxury

The key to forecasting China’s auto demand since 2008 has been the level of bank lending, as the chart above shows.  This was critical in making China the world’s largest auto market.  Official data shows average disposable income was just Rmb 10k ($1600) in H1 2014, making it impossible for most people to buy a car out of income: […]

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Cotton prices suffer worst crash in 55 years

Just as forecast in March, world cotton prices have crashed. Prices peaked at 97.35c/lb on 24 March, just 3 days after the post was published.  Since then, they have fallen by a third to 65c/lb.  They have now fallen for 11 straight weeks – the longest slump in 55 years, according to Bloomberg. There is no need to repeat […]

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US auto sales set to decline as today’s credit bubble ends

Its really not difficult to forecast US auto sales and housing starts if you take a longer term view.  Of course, this wouldn’t suit the traders, who love the “surprise” of a monthly number being higher or lower than the previous month.  But why does everyone else put up with this nonsense? The chart above demonstrates the […]

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Global auto markets depend on China for growth

Global auto markets have started to move in new directions.  That much is clear from comment by the major national auto associations.  This will be a shock to manufacturers, who have over-expanded production.  Price wars and capacity cutbacks are inevitable if the industry forecasts are correct. The chart  starts from 2005, and shows the 7 major […]

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America’s New Old 55 plus are now 38% of consumer spending

Maybe the concept that spending is related to age and income is just too simple for policy makers to understand?  Could that be the reason why they insist on continuing to try to stimulate demand, despite the fact that Western and many other populations are now ageing fast? That was the blog’s thought on studying newly […]

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EU auto sales stagnate as unemployment remains near record

The good news about EU auto sales, as the chart shows, is that they have stabilised above last year’s record low levels: Sales in the January – May period were up 7% (red square) versus 2013 (green line) at 5.4 million Sales in May itself were up 5% versus 2013 at 1.1m Sales have risen […]

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US housing markets will never be the same again

US housing markets will never be the same again.  That’s the conclusion of a new analysis by the blog for ICB. The picture above of a typical US family from the BabyBoom days tells the story: The number of US babies born between 1946 – 64 increased by 50% versus the previous 18 years 4 million […]

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Toilet provision key to Modi’s success in India

As the blog discussed last week, it seems that a new type of leader is starting to emerge in some of the world’s major countries.    Premier Narendra Modi in India, like President Xi Jinping in China, seems to be focused on achieving change – and not just on staying in power for its own sake. His […]

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