Class 8 Sales Slip in July; Tonnage Up 4.7% Y/Y

Transport Topics reported that Class 8 U.S. retail truck sales declined in July for the 11th straight month in comparison with last year, citing WardsAuto. However, the drop was the smallest percentage decline of the 11 months. The July total also dropped from June, and cumulative year-to-date sales for 2013 fell from the previous year, the article said.

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index slipped 0.4% in July after edging 0.1% higher in June. The latest drop was the first since April. In July, the SA index equaled 125.4 (2000=100) versus 125.9 in June. June 2013 is the highest level on record. Compared with July 2012, the SA index increased 4.7%, which is robust, although the smallest year-over-year gain since April. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2012, the tonnage index is up 4.7%, the ATA said.

“After gaining a total of 2.2% in May and June, it isn’t surprising that tonnage slipped a little in July,” ATA chief economist Bob Costello said. “The decrease corresponds with the small decline in manufacturing output during July reported by the Federal Reserve last week.”

“Despite the small reprieve in July, we expect solid tonnage numbers during the second half of the year as sectors that generate heavy freight, like oil and gas and autos, continue with robust growth,” Costello said. “Home construction generates a significant amount of tonnage, but as mortgage rates and home prices rise, growth in housing starts will decelerate slightly in the second half of the year, but still be a positive for truck freight volumes. Tonnage gains in the second half of the year are likely to overstate the strength in the economy as these heavy freight sectors continue to outperform the economy overall.”

To watch Costello break down the July figures click here.

To read the full Transport Topics article (subscription required) click here.

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