According to JPM’s Himanshu Patel, May is already looking mediocre.
Very early reads suggest May US light vehicle sales may be slowing more than expected with Japan quake-induced supply shortages being exacerbated by what seems like some potential moderation in US consumer spending. The precise driver of this weakness is hard to pinpoint, but high gas prices, a sudden step up in car prices, and recently more uneven jobless claims trending may all be conspiring together to dampen vehicle expenditures and perhaps broader US consumer spending from Q1 levels. Our best expectation now is that the May SAAR could be 11.5-12.0MM (going into the month, we had expected a May SAAR of ~12.5MM, down 5% sequentially from April on Japan supply shortages, with most of the weakness concentrated towards month-end).
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