UK New Car Sales up 3.5pct in June, First Half up 2.7 pct image

New car registrations in United Kingdom rose for a fourth successive month with a 3.5 percent rise in June to 189,514 units, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced.

The amount of new cars registered in 2012 has now broken through the one million mark, with the total of 1,057,680 surpassing industry expectations.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: “Despite domestic and international economic concerns, UK motorists are responding positively to new products and the latest fuel-efficient technology.

“The industry has performed better than expected in the first half of the year and we will now need to work hard to sustain growth.”

In the three months ended June, sales advanced 4.8 percent from the same period a year earlier. The market was around 5 percent ahead of the SMMT forecast for the quarter, the agency said.
The rise was not as strong as May’s 23-month record of 7.9 percent but the market was 5 percent ahead of expectations for the second quarter the SMMT said, pointing to improved consumer demand.

However, the UK manufacturing industry’s woes continued into June, with a measure that shows activity shrinking for the second successive month.

Manufacturing PMI for June was 48.6 – a figure below 50 signals a contraction. The reading was not as bad as analysts had feared and signalled activity was shrinking at a slower pace than in May, when it dropped to a three-year low.

“Manufacturing is seeing lots of volatility at the moment, due to factors such as the jubilee holidays, making it very difficult to see what the underlying trend is, “Rob Dobson, Senior Economist at Markit, said.

Exports have been on the decline, reflected by both PMI and official data.

Unemployment in the U.K. fell by 51,000 to 2.61 million in the three months from February to April as the labour market continued to hold firm despite the double-dip recession.

The jobless total dropped 51,000 to 2.61 million in the quarter to April, while the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in May rose by 8,100 to 1.6 million, ending two months of declines. Economists had expected a fall of around 3,000.

Self-employment has reached a record figure of 4.17 million, up by 84,000 since the previous quarter.
Average earnings increased by 1.4% in the year to April, up by 0.5 percentage points on the previous month due to the timing of bonuses.