New motor vehicles is a second tier ABS release.
But because it goes to the heart of consumer actions in terms of the purchase of cars and taking on debt it has a strong behavioural importance.
This chart showing Western Australian sales continuing to fall while New South Wales purchases keep on keeping on tells you everything you need to know about the relative health of the two state economies.
New South Wales, driven by finance and housing is the clear economic leader in Australia at the moment. It’s the way things have been for most of my economic life.
Except for when Western Australia or Queensland are having one of their booms.
While Sydney looks certain to always be the financial capital of Australia and thus generate a certain level of self-sustaining economic growth, Western Australia needs the external catalyst of demand for mined product.
New car sales on the east and west coasts reaffirm an economy in transition.
The fall in Australia-wide total sales in January (-1.5%) also confirms enduring consumer caution.