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Revving up: Australian auto market hits historic high in August

In a remarkable surge, the Australian automotive market witnessed a historic high in August with 109,966 new vehicles sold. This momentous spike has been…



In a remarkable surge, the Australian automotive market witnessed a historic high in August with 109,966 new vehicles sold. This momentous spike has been attributed to an upsurge in pent-up demand and a resurgence in supply. Notably, this August performance broke previous records, following on the heels of similarly ground-breaking sales in May and July this year.

A deeper dive into the figures reveals some significant dynamics at play. The majority of these sales were driven by orders that were placed months, if not years, earlier. Such figures highlight the influence of an improved supply chain, particularly for overseas manufacturers, catering to long-standing customer demands.

The bumper August sales number reflects a robust 15.4 per cent year-on-year increase. And year to date sales almost eclipsed the record August year-to-date sales of 2017.

Table 1. Record-breaking August auto sales

Table 1 Record breaking August auto salesSource: VFACTS

However, while these impressive monthly numbers might make headlines, Tony Weber, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), stressed the importance of a wider lens. He opined that the 9.9 per cent increase in year-to-date sales offers a more insightful temperature check of the market’s strength.

Weber noted the shift towards sustainability in the auto sector, pointing out that 6.4 per cent of August’s sales comprised electric vehicles (Tesla, BYD, Polestar), while hybrids accounted for 10.5 per cent. These figures underscore the evolving consumer landscape, one that’s gravitating towards low-emission technologies at an accelerating pace (pun intended). 

In the luxury segment, Tesla emerged as the undisputed leader in August, clocking in 3,309 sales. This strong performance positioned Tesla comfortably ahead of stalwarts like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Another standout was Lexus, which, with a staggering 253.2 per cent sales increase from August 2022, shattered its previous records. I note an increasing frequency of Lexus models used by premium taxi drivers.

Digging a little deeper, we note much of August’s growth came from sports utility vehicles (SUV). Passenger vehicle sales were down 3.3 per cent or 661 vehicles lower compared to August ’22, while SUV sales were up 13,742 vehicles or 28.3 per cent.

Despite the robust overall performance, the automotive sector isn’t without its challenges. External factors, such as the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic and ongoing geopolitical tensions, including between the U.S. and China and the war in Ukraine, continue to exert pressure on supply chains. Nevertheless, the resilience of the Australian car market is evident in its ability to post monthly sales records, all while normalising supplies and trimming backorders.

The shift in sentiment and sales won’t be lost on Auto-exposed listed companies like ARB (ASX:ARB).

Our friends at stockbroker Morgans track sales of vehicles typically sold to ARB aftermarket four wheel drive (4WD) parts and accessories customers (Figure 1.).

Figure 1. ARB targeted models monthly volumes (LHS) and per cent share of market (excl. DCs) (RHS)

Figure 1 ARB targeted models monthly volumes and per cent share of market

Source: Morgans, VFACTS

The recent vehicle sales facts (VFACTS) data clearly reflects well on ARB. Morgans’ ARB index reported an August volume of 22,900 units, marking an increase of 25.1 per cent year-on-year and 20.1 per cent month-on-month. And the first two months of the FY24 financial year, July and August, saw a surge in volumes to 42,000, a 20.6 per cent increase from the previous year’s 34,800.

This represents an increase in sales of vehicles, some of which are destined to be modified for serious 4wd’ing.

Considering models that are a focus of ARB customers, through financial year 2024 to date, the Ford Everest saw growth of 153 per cent, the Ford Ranger 51.9 per cent, and the Mazda BT-50, 62.9 per cent. On the flip side, the Mitsubishi Triton dipped by 42.2 per cent, the Toyota Hilux fell by 9.1 per cent, and the Nissan Navara by 6.9 per cent.

Importantly, ARB’s mainstay models from Ford and Toyota, which usually account for about 65-70 per cent of the Morgans ARB Index, are witnessing steady supply. Both Toyota and Ford Index Volumes increased by 23.7 per cent in August, 22.6 per cent throughout FY24, and 16.6 per cent month-over-month.

Morgans notes that ARB-friendly vehicle models aren’t inexpensive. That could mean one of two things: Buyers who have committed to an expensive vehicle with the intention of having it ARB-modified and adorned will continue on their path, which would be great for ARB. Alternatively, a softer and less certain economy sees them re-evaluate their next steps after taking delivery, deferring or cancelling their modifications. Regardless, while there might be some uncertainties about FY24, the start of the first half of the year has been favourable for them domestically, at least in terms of potential sales.

It wasn’t smooth sailing for all brands. Renowned names like Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, Suzuki, and a few others encountered a slump in their sales. That could reflect the fact many of the vehicles sold ‘on order’ have been delivered in prior periods.

Next month will bring another round of numbers helping to determine whether the shift we have seen in the first two months of this financial year is structural or cyclical.

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DAX – PMIs paint a bleak picture for manufacturing but China offers hope

Manufacturing remains in trouble China seeing some growth but unconvincing Bearish confirmation for DE30 index Manufacturing PMIs released throughout the…



  • Manufacturing remains in trouble
  • China seeing some growth but unconvincing
  • Bearish confirmation for DE30 index

Manufacturing PMIs released throughout the day have made for pretty miserable reading and even those in China barely registered any growth after a lengthy period of contraction.

The Chinese data did offer some cause for hope at least, despite ultimately barely sitting in growth territory. The trajectory is positive and boosted by targeted stimulus measures that are seemingly working. External demand remains a problem but a bump in domestic demand is promising.

The sector in Europe is looking particularly grim with demand remaining extremely weak, backlogs falling and layoffs expected to accelerate over the months ahead. That’s unless we can see a rebound in activity which is looking very unlikely at this stage with the global economy struggling for any positive momentum against the backdrop of high interest rates.

The PMIs from the US were a little better, particularly the ISM reading which significantly beat expectations but even here, it remains below 50 and therefore in contraction territory. With interest rates set to remain “higher for longer”, things aren’t likely to dramatically improve for the sector.

A very bearish signal for the DAX

The DE30 turned lower again today after staging a mild recovery in recent sessions and the move could reinforce bearish views on the index.

DE30 Daily

Source – OANDA on Trading View

The reason is that the move lower came after a retest of the 200/233-day simple moving average band, following the breakout last week. The rotation lower now could be viewed as confirmation of the breakout and therefore a bearish signal.

The next potential area of support could be seen around 15,000 where prior support and resistance falls around the bottom of the descending channel.

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Can An ‘Independent’ Kennedy Destroy “The Whole Left-Right Demon-Driven Pyschodrama”

Can An ‘Independent’ Kennedy Destroy "The Whole Left-Right Demon-Driven Pyschodrama"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,





Can An 'Independent' Kennedy Destroy "The Whole Left-Right Demon-Driven Pyschodrama"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,


“Intents have been overtaken by events.”

- Jacob Dreizin

You have to wonder what took Bobby Kennedy, Jr. so long to recognize that the Democratic Party was a home that he had long ago been turned out of, like a dog that has peed on the carpet too many times.

At the end of last week, Mr. Kennedy intimated that he might run for president on an independent line.

If he manages to get that line on the state ballots - and you can easily imagine New York and California trying to thwart him - it will change all the current calculations about the 2024 election.

As of right now, the Party of Chaos is living up to its name. They continue to present an obviously false and ridiculous consensus among themselves that “Joe Biden” is running for reelection. In fact, “the Big Guy” is about to get run through a wringer of the most abject public disgrace as his already-well-known crimes of bribery and treason get conscientiously laid out for all to see with cold and implacable decorum. Even the mind-fucked spawn of the Ivy League, toiling away on their CIA-owned newspapers and cable news networks, might find themselves forced to spin their narrative in a new direction.

“Joe Biden” is now a monumental embarrassment and a liability to our country, let alone to the degenerate party that owns him. Sub rosa efforts must be in motion to persuade him to resign before the impeachment inquiry spotlights all those telltale bank records, but they will fail to overcome his demented pride. He’ll ride this thing out to the bitter end, when he can use the last tool at his disposal to officially pardon everyone involved in his family’s racketeering operation. The longer the party pretends to support him, the closer the party itself skates toward self-destruction. Also consider: if allowed to play out, the impeachment inquiry will implicate the DOJ and the FBI in obstruction of justice — exposing many Deep State blob players to danger of prosecution.

Gov Gavin Newsom dangles himself above the fray as the deus ex machina who can touch down in DC and make all the Democrat’s problems go away. Such an attractive fellow! Great teeth and hair! Tall as a sequoia! And such a smooth talker! The woked-up suburban ladies who comprise the party’s main voting bloc grow moist in anticipation of Gov. Newsom landing on-stage like a demigod out of a Mozart opera.

But how do you think he’ll make out in an election when the airwaves are filled with oppo ads showing his toothy and hairy visage inset against scenes of homeless junkies and looting flash mobs? Try blaming that on climate change.

What else does he stand for? Censorship? Forced vaccinations? Child sex mutilations? Open borders? News-flash: these are increasingly unpopular, except among an easily-identified depraved elite.

Indeed, the whole Left-Right demon-driven psychodrama is proving impossible to live in as it throbs and pulsates toward something like civil war. And it has obscured the truly potent idea that the nation might actually be capable of solving its problems by facing up to them and changing how we act. That potent idea might be what voters will see in Bobby Kennedy if he can get their attention. Mr. Kennedy would dismantle the heinous partnerships between private corporations and the US government that loosed the Covid-19 op on the world and asset-strips the middle-class. He favors closing the border and a reevalution of immigration policy. He aims to negotiate an end to the ignoble Ukraine war project. He’s determined to disassemble the security state apparatus that’s destroying the US Constitution and citizens natural rights with it.

Mr. Kennedy says he can bring divided Americans together on these dire matters. It’s conceivable that his message might go over with enough rancor-weary voters to pull off a tour-de-force plurality in a three-way race, where nobody wins enough electoral votes to settle the contest, which then moves to the House, like in the old days of Jefferson and Burr. The rest is election mechanics, some of it very sinister when you consider all the election-rigging booby-traps already in-place such as mass mail-in ballot harvesting, no voter ID requirements, and the still-mysterious hookups of vote-counting machines to the Internet. But, at least, Mr. Kennedy running on an independent line will be a hard whap upside the Democratic Party’s thick skull, maybe even a death-blow to the party. They made a big mistake trying to un-person him. He’s on a hero’s journey at a moment in history when America dearly needs a hero.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/02/2023 - 16:20

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Small Business Bankruptcies Surge In 2023, Five Reasons Why

Small Business Bankruptcies Surge In 2023, Five Reasons Why

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Small business bankruptcies are at…



Small Business Bankruptcies Surge In 2023, Five Reasons Why

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Small business bankruptcies are at a much higher pace than any year since the Covid pandemic...

Small business bankruptcies from the American Bankruptcy Institute via the Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal reports There’s No Soft Landing for These Businesses

Nearly 1,500 small businesses filed for Subchapter V bankruptcy this year through Sept. 28, nearly as many as in all of 2022, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Bankruptcy petitions are just one sign of financial stress. Small-business loan delinquencies and defaults have edged upward since June 2022 and are now above prepandemic averages, according to Equifax.

An index tracking small-business owners’ confidence ticked down slightly in September, driven by heightened concerns about the economy, according to a survey of more than 750 small businesses. Fifty-two percent of respondents believed that the country is approaching or in a recession, said the survey by Vistage Worldwide, a business-coaching and peer-advisory firm.

Robert Gonzales, a bankruptcy attorney in Nashville, said he’s now getting four times as many calls as he did a year ago from small businesses considering a bankruptcy filing.

“We are just at the front end of the impact of these dramatically higher interest rates,” Gonzales said. “There are going to be plenty of small businesses that are overleveraged.”

Five Reasons for Surge in Bankruptcies

  • Rising Interest Rates

  • Surging Wages

  • Tighter Bank Credit

  • Overleverage

  • Work-at-Home Curtailing Demand

Fed Rate Interest Rate Hike Expectations Are Still Higher for Even Longer

The Fed has hiked interest rates to 5.25% to 5.50%. It’s the highest in 22 years.

And Fed Rate Interest Rate Hike Expectations Are Still Higher for Even Longer

Surge in Wages

Minimum wages have surged. Unions are piling on. Small businesses have to offer prevailing wages or they cannot get workers.

In California, Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers Jumps 30% to $20 Per Hour. Governor Gavib Newsom called it a “big deal”, I responded:

A Big Deal Indeed, Expect More Inflation

Yes, governor, this is very big deal. It will increase the cost of eating out everywhere.

The bill Newsom signed only applies to restaurants that have at least 60 locations nationwide — with an exception for restaurants that make and sell their own bread, like Panera Bread (what’s that exception all about?)

Nonetheless, the bill will force many small restaurants out of business or they will pony up too.

30 Percent Raise Coming Up!

If McDonalds pays $20, why take $15.50 elsewhere?

The $4.50 hike from $15.50 to $20 is a massive 30 percent jump.

Expect prices at all restaurant to rise. Then think ahead. This extra money is certain to increase demands for all goods and services, so guess what.

Other states will follow California.

Biden Newsome Tag Team

Biden’s energy policies have made the US less secure on oil, more dependent on China for materials needed to make batteries, fueled a surge in inflation, and ironically did not do a damn thing for the environment, arguably making matters worse.

See  The Shocking Truth About Biden’s Proposed Energy Fuel Standards for discussion of the administration’s admitted impacts of Biden’s mileage mandates.

Newsom is doing everything he can to make things even worse.

The tag team of Biden and Newsom is an inflationary sight to behold.

Bank Credit and Over-Leverage

In the wake of the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, across the board small regional banks are curtailing credit.

The regional banks over-leveraged on interest rate bets. And businesses overleveraged too, getting caught up in work-from-home environments that curtailed demand for some goods and services.

The bankruptcies will fall hard on the regional banks.

Add it all up and things rate to get worse.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/02/2023 - 15:40

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