South African vehicle sales increased at the slowest pace in nine months in February as households curbed spending, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa said.
Sales (NAAMTSYY) rose 6.4 percent to 52,356 last month, the Pretoria- based group said in an e-mailed statement today. Vehicle sales expanded 7 percent in January.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan cut his forecast for economic growth in Africa’s biggest economy this year to 2.7 percent from 3.4 percent as a possible recession in Europe reduces demand from a region that buys a third of South African manufactured goods. The Reserve Bank has kept the benchmark repurchase rate at 5.5 percent since November 2010, the lowest level in more than 30 years, to help support spending.
“The outlook for 2012 in terms of total industry sales remains one of modest growth,” the association said.
Passenger-car sales increased 6.8 percent to 36,357 in February from a year earlier, according to the statement.
Vehicle exports fell 10 percent to 22,630 last month. Exports will probably increase 10 percent to about 300,000 this year, the association said.
“Vehicle exports into Europe are likely to soften as a result of the recession and debt crisis in the euro zone,” the association said. “This could be offset by higher export volumes to African countries.”
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