Passenger car sales in Estonia have increased 20.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in the first seven months of 2012, to 10,449 units. BMI had previously forecasted passenger car sales to increase 9.3% in 2012; in light of these figures, buoyant consumer demand, and a probable bounce-back effect, we are revising this forecast to a more bullish increase of 22% over the year.
|Growing Sales On Buoyant Consumer Story And Pent-Up Demand|
|Monthly Passenger Car Sales, CBUs,|
BMI recently revised down our real GDP growth forecasts for Estonia to 2.2% in 2012, from 2.7% previously ( see our online service, August 15, 'Slower GDP Growth Expected'). Despite this, we expect consumer demand to remain resilient.
Retail trade continues to come in strong, with growth in the real retail trade index coming in at 8.1% y-o-y in June, down only slightly from 9.4% in May. In addition, the unemployment rate in Estonia fell to 10.2% in Q212 from 13.3% in the same period of 2011, below the eurozone average in June of 11.2%. Moreover, Estonian real wages have continued to rise, which when combined with relatively healthy household balance sheets and an improving labour market, will continue to keep private consumption well supported. BMI believes these factors will lead to increases in consumer spending and this will boost passenger car sales; this has partly informed our bullish forecast revision for sales growth in this segment.
As the graph below shows, passenger car sales in Estonia reached 30,912 units in 2007; by 2009, this figure had plummeted to 9,946 units. Since then, we believe growth in this segment has come from a 'bounce-back effect', as a result of previously pent-up consumer demand. This has partly informed our bullish forecast revision for sales in this segment.
|Long Term Resurgence|
|Passenger Car Sales, CBUs|