2017 Economic Calendar
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Motor Vehicle Sales  
Released On 1/4/2017 For Dec, 2016
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Total Vehicle Sales17.9 M17.7 M17.5 M to 18.0 M18.4 M
Domestic Vehicle Sales14.1 M13.8 M13.6 M to 14.0 M14.6 M

The first indication for December retail sales is very strong. Unit vehicles sold at a much stronger-than-expected 18.4 million annualized rate which is a new cycle high. And in an especially favorable sign for the dollar totals of the retail sales report, the month's strength is centered in light trucks which generally sale at a higher price than cars. North American-made vehicles sold at a 14.6 million rate which is also a cycle high and one that points to increased domestic production.

Consensus Outlook
Unit vehicle sales correctly foreshadowed what was a swing downward for the motor vehicle component of the November retail sales report. November unit sales fell 2.9 percent to a 17.9 million annualized rate with forecasters not seeing any snapback for December, instead a 1.1 percent decline to a 17.7 million rate. Vehicle sales, reflecting strength in the labor market, were solid throughout 2016 but still down from 2015's exceptionally strong rates.

Unit sales of motor vehicles include domestic sales and foreign sales, otherwise referred to as imports. Domestics are sales of autos produced in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Imports are U.S. sales of vehicles produced elsewhere. These are for light vehicles which include all passenger cars and light trucks up to 14,000 pounds gross weight (including minivans and sport utility vehicles). Individual manufacturers usually report sales on the first business day of the month. One of the first tabulators of the data is Autodata Corporation. Motor vehicle sales are good indicators of trends in consumer spending and often are considered a leading indicator at business cycle turning points. One should note that manufacturers do not break out vehicle sales to businesses, which are a smaller but still significant percentage of the monthly total.  Why Investors Care
Motor vehicles sales slowed notably in 2008 and 2009 due to recession. Recovery boosted sales in 2010 and early 2011 before economic growth slowed. Truck shares hit their peak in 2005 when gasoline was cheap. Trucks have since oscillated sharply with spikes in gasoline in 2008 and 2010.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/42/13/14/35/26/17/38/19/110/311/112/1
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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