China’s vehicle sales suffered their worst monthly decline in almost seven years in September, as the world’s largest auto market took a hit from sluggish economic activity and escalating trade war.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), the country’s major auto industry body, stated on Friday that vehicles sales dropped for the third straight month in September to 2.39 million units due to slow economic growth, deleveraging, and tough pollution crackdown.
Analysts have expected the market to weaken this year for first time in decades. CAAM also said its full-year growth forecast of a 3 percent rise would not be met, although the market should avoid a sales loss. Sales climbed 3 percent in 2017, but sharply declined from a 13.7 percent increase in 2016.
The International Monetary Fund also revised China’s growth expectations for 2019 from 6.4 percent to 6.2 percent.
The latest drop is the largest to date since a 26.4 percent decline in January 2012, which was partly due to the timing of the China New Year holiday that year.
For the first nine months of the year, sales totaled 20.49 million vehicles, adding 1.5 percent from the same period a year ago.
The downturn in September vehicle sales follows a 3.8 percent slump in August and a 4.0 percent fall in July. Auto sales posted a 4.8 percent rise in June.