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Monday, January 05, 2009

A Little Good News Would Be Nice

But apparently we don't have any yet.

Automobile sales in December fell again, and by startingly large percentages, compared with December 2007.

Chrysler's sales were down 53% in December, compared with December 2007.
Toyota's sales fell 37%.
Honda? Down 35%.
Ford--down 32%.
GM's sales were off 31%, as were Nissan's.

And here's Ford's senior economic analyst, Emily Kolinski Morris:"We expect the first few months of 2009 to feel much like last three months of 2008."

The current estimate is that sales for 2008 as a whole will be down 18% (to about 13 million vehicles) from 2007; one source--Global Insight--projects 2009 sales at 10.3 million, or about 20% below the 2008 level. Sales haven't been that low, on an annual basis, since 1982.

And, of course, the decline in motor vehicle sales (and production) and the collapse in construction spending have consequences, not least on the steel industry, where we find that "[t]hrough August, steel production was actually up slightly for the year. The decline came slowly at first, and then with a rush in November and December. By late December, output was down to 1.02 million tons a week from 2.1 million tons on Aug. 30, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported. The price of a ton of steel is also down by half since late summer."

Doesn't this all make you feel better?


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