This Morning in Metals: May new-vehicle retail sales on pace for record

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This morning in metals news: new-vehicle retail sales are on pace to hit their highest total ever for the month of May, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive; meanwhile, new orders for manufactured durable goods declined in April after 11 straight months of gains; and, lastly, LME aluminum has backtracked over the last two-plus weeks.

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New-vehicle retail sales set to have record May

auto sale

Photographee.eu/Adobe Stock

US new-vehicle retail sales are on pace to have a record May, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive reported in their jointly released automotive forecast today.

They project new-vehicle retail sales this month will reach 1,388,600, good for an increase of 34.0% year over year. Furthermore, the sales forecast would mark a jump of 10.6% compared with May 2019 sales.

“The U.S. auto industry is showing tremendous adaptability in maintaining a record sales pace, despite historically low inventory levels,” said Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power. “May is usually one of the highest-volume sales months with buying activity peaking around the Memorial Day weekend when manufacturers typically offer incremental incentives. This year, notwithstanding supply constraints and significantly reduced incentives from manufacturers, May 2021 will be another record-breaking month for the industry.”

Durable goods orders decline

New orders for manufactured durable goods declined by 1.3% in April, the Census Bureau reported today.

The decline follows 11 straight months of increases. New orders jumped by 1.3% in March.

Excluding transportation, new orders increased 1.0%, the Census Bureau reported. Transportation equipment orders have fallen for two straight months. April transportation orders fell by $4.9 billion — or 6.7% — to $68.9 billion.

LME aluminum slides

Like some other base metals, the aluminum price has retraced over the last two-plus weeks.

LME three-month aluminum closed Wednesday at $2,393 per metric ton. The price had peaked at $2,577 per metric ton May 10.

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