Economic & Market Overview – June 2019

John Hughes, Managing Director

 

In an environment where the word ‘disruptive’ has dominated the economic outlook, it is clear that the importance of agility and pragmatism are needed in equal measure. Throughout my career, I have seen that the motor retail sector has long been blessed with a capacity to balance both sides of this equation. It is an ethos largely centred upon a short-term, tactical approach to business.

Short-termism is easily criticised, but in the current market, it does seem entirely appropriate; albeit dealers will benefit by ensuring that one eye is always peering into the crystal ball.

Digitisation, regulation, new, often digital, market entrants, new customer buying habits, environmental pressures and of course Brexit all continue to ensure an outlook that is decidedly opaque. This has recently been evidenced by an announcement in early May, by the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney. He forecast that interest rate increases could be “more frequent” than expected if the economy performs as the Bank of England expected. His comments were based upon forecasts by the Bank that growth and inflation were set to pick up over the next two years. A few short weeks later and the ONS announced that inflationary growth had not lived up to expectations.

The inflation news created some media criticism of the Bank, but I have my sympathies; this is a tough market to call the economic future. UK inflation is up, suggesting growth, but key European economies may be heading for recession; given Brexit, it is easy to understand why this position seems unexpected.

Looking to the motor sector, the market does appear to be holding up well and people are buying cars.  Against this backdrop, it is very clear that finance is an essential part of the buying equation. Used vehicle finance has continued to grow and I have no doubt that this can continue to be the case. Success will require a proactive approach in marketing, the supply of a broad product offering to meet customer needs appropriately and a high-integrity, compliant customer experience from start to finish. In the months ahead, this focus on compliance will clearly develop as the market adapts to the FCA’s review of motor finance and the outcome of consequent consultations.

 

Key Economic Data Summary as at 11/06/19

CPI (April)

+2.1%

Released by ONS 22/05/19

CPIH (April)

+2.0%

Released by ONS 22/05/19

Employment Rate (Feb – April ’19)

76.1%

Employment is higher than for a year earlier (75.6%) and the joint-highest figure on record. Released by ONS 11/06/19

Unemployment Rate (Feb – April 19)

3.8%

Unemployment has not been lower since October to December 1974. Released by ONS 11/06/19

GDP – 3 months to April 2019

+0.3%

Released by ONS 10/06/19

 

BoE Base Rate

0.75%

Unchanged  since August 2018

LIBOR (6M GBP)

0.86613

11/06/19 – https://www.global-rates.com/interest-rates/libor/libor.aspx

Crude Oil

$53.26

11/06/19 – http://www.oil-price.net
Gold

$1,322.41

11/06/19 – http://www.goldprice.org

 

Personal Loan Rates

Please note the following unsecured personal loan rates were sourced from lenders websites on 11/06/2019 – Based upon a £5000 loan over 36 months and subject to underwriting. These advertised rates should apply to 51% of all customer accepted for a loan on the advertised terms & conditions. Note some rates may only be available to current customers.

 

Lenders

£5K Representative APR

Lenders

£5K Representative APR

Sainsbury’s Finance

4.4%

Halifax

9.9%

Tesco Personal Finance

3.7%

HSBC

6.1%

Santander UK

4.5%

Lloyds Bank

15.4%

Nat West/RBS

7.9%

TSB Bank

9.9%

M &S

3.6%

Barclays Bank

10.5%

 

 

SMMT New Vehicle Outlook for 2019 and 2020 – as at May 1st 2019

2019

  • Cars registrations at 2.330, down 1.6% on the 2018 level.
  • Diesel car volume of 0.621m, down 17.2% on 2018 and reducing market share to 26.6%.
  • AFVs registrations to rise 13.6% and plug-ins up 27.7%, taking market shares to 6.9% and 3.3%
  • LCV registrations at 0.357m, up 0.2%.4% on the 2018 level.

2020

  • Cars registrations at 2.307m, down 1.0% on the 2019 outlook level.
  • Diesel car volume of 0.554, down 10.8% on 2019 outlook and cutting market share to 23.2%.
  • AFVs registrations to rise 32.4% and plug-ins 52.4%, pushing market shares to 9.2% and 5.1%
  • LCV registrations at 0.337m, down 5.9% on the outlook for 2019.

Notes: car forecasts rounded to nearest 10,000 and LCV to 1,000 unit.
Reasonable care has been taken in preparing this information. It is not an exclusive aid for market analysis, other sources and market intelligence should be reviewed.

Source: https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/WEBSUM-SMMT-CARLCV-MARKET-OUTLOOK-Q2-19-Final-010519.pdf

 


National House Price Index (published by Halifax  as of 8th June 2019)

 

Annual Change

+5.2%

Quarterly Change

+2.5%

Monthly change

+0.5%

Average Price

£237,837

Source: https://static.halifax.co.uk/assets/pdf/mortgages/pdf/May-2019-House-Price-Index.pdf

 

  • On a monthly basis, house prices rose by 0.5%
  • In the latest quarter (March to May) house prices were 2.5% higher than in the preceding three months (December to February)
  • House prices in the three months to May were 5.2% higher than in the same three months a year earlier
  • May’s annual change figure of 5.2% comes against the backdrop of a particularly low growth rate in the corresponding period in 2018, which has had an impact on year-on-year comparisons.

 

Household Finance Update April 2019 – UK Finance (28/05/19)

  • The £11.4 billion of credit card spending in April 2019 was 11.7 per cent higher than the same month in 2018. This growth in spending reflects consumers’ increased preference for using credit cards as a means of payment, particularly online, because of purchase protection and card benefits. Repayments have remained in line with credit card spending, showing overall that consumers are managing their finances effectively.
  • Personal borrowing through loans in April 2019 was 7.8 per cent higher than the same month a year ago. Lending through overdrafts in April 2019 was 0.9 per cent higher compared to same month last year.
  • Personal deposits in total grew by 0.9 per cent in the year to April 2019. Deposits held in instant access accounts were 2.4 per cent higher than last April.
 Source: https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/data-and-research/data/household-finance/household-lending-and-deposits

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