Chinese auto sales fell in February image

Auto sales in China dropped in February for the first time in six months, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

The world’s biggest auto market is starting to show its limits, with a surprising drop in February, the first time in six months when the demand fell. Sales fell 0.9 percent last month compared with the same period a year earlier, the first decline since August, following a 7.7 percent year-on-year growth in January and a 15.4 percent rise in December. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said the figures were affected by the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, which this year fell in the first half of the month, making it more likely to affect operations as workers often take vacations that extend well beyond the one-week holiday stipulated by the government.

For the first two months of 2016, sales grew 4.4 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, the association said at a briefing in Beijing. In January it said it expected vehicle sales to grow 6 percent this year. Analysts say the world’s largest auto market has entered a period of unprecedented uncertainty as the economy grows at its slowest pace in 25 years. Car sales nearly contracted last year before a fourth quarter recover, thanks to a tax cut on small engine vehicles introduced in October that extends until the end of 2016.

Via Reuters