US Auto Sales Pick Up, But Monthly Automotive MMI® Loses Ground

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The monthly Automotive MMI® registered a value of 90 in December, down 3.2% from November’s value.

Compare with last month’s Monthly MMI® Report.


The top 6 automakers sold more cars and trucks in November than analysts expected, with a healthy economy, generous discounts and low fuel prices luring consumers into US showrooms. Among them, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler led the pack. Fiat Chrysler sales jumped 20% to 170,839 for a 56th straight monthly increase amid gains in deliveries of Jeep sport-utility vehicles, Ram pickups and the Chrysler 200 sedan. GM’s sales climbed 6.5% to 225,818.

The industry’s annualized sales rate in November was about 17.2 million vehicles, according to industry consultant Autodata Corp. That is the best pace for that month since 2003 and well ahead of the estimated 16.7 million in a Thomson Reuters survey of 41 industry economists and analysts.

November sales totaled 1.3 million, up 4.6% from a year ago and higher than analysts’ expectations of 1.27 million.

It was one of many positives coming out of the automotive market in November. Ford also announced that its new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup will get up to 26 mpg on the highway, making it the most fuel efficient gas-powered full-size pickup. The Ram truck is the current leader among pickups, getting up to 25 mpg on the highway with a gas engine.

A lag in metals purchasing by automakers at the end of the year, and the ongoing adoption of aluminum as a body material, may be some of the reasons that our IndX has not yet reflected the increase in automotive sales and the increased production that must follow it. The biggest reason, however, could be the falling price of oil. Gas prices have been hovering at or below $3 per gallon nationally since early November and consumers are more willing to turn to trucks and SUVs than they have been for years.

Exact Price Movements within the Auto Index

The price of Chinese lead fell 8.2% to $2,193 per metric ton. On the LME, the cash price of primary copper fell 4.7% over the past month to $6,515 per metric ton. After falling 4.5%, the 3-month price of copper finished the month on the LME at $6,460 per metric ton. At $1,225 per ounce, US platinum bar was down 1.1% for the month. US HDG closed the month at $753.00 per short ton after dropping 0.7%.

Finishing the month at $802.00 per ounce, US palladium bar recorded a 0.4% increase.

Hovering around $3.51 per kilogram for the month, Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 sheet remained unchanged.

The Automotive MMI® collects and weights 7 metal price points used in automotive production to provide a unique view into automotive metal trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Automotive MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

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