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Vehicles Sales at 15.05 million SAAR in May; Up 19.6% YoY

The BEA released their estimate of vehicle sales for May this morning.

The BEA estimates sales of 15.05 million SAAR in May 2023 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), down 6.5% from the April sales rate, and up 19.6% from May 2022. 

Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows light vehicle sales since 2006 from the BEA (blue) and BEA’s estimate for May (red).

The impact of COVID-19 was significant, and April 2020 was the worst month.  After April 2020, sales increased, and were close to sales in 2019 (the year before the pandemic).  

However, sales decreased in 2021 due to supply issues.  The “supply chain bottom” was in September 2021.

The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.

Vehicle sales are usually a transmission mechanism for Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy, although far behind housing.  This time vehicle sales were more suppressed by supply chain issues and have picked up recently.

Sales in May were above the consensus forecast and sales in April were revised up.

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