While February falls short, March wholesale price forecast reflects uptick

McLEAN, Va. - 

February wholesale prices didn’t hold up quite as much as the analyst team at J.D. Power Valuation Services expected. But the group thinks March performance will fall in line with what the firm typically has seen during the third month of a year.

According to the latest installment of Guidelines, March wholesale prices for vehicles up to 8 years old are projected to increase by 1.2 percent. Should that forecast hold, it would be nearly identical to the 1.6-percent lift analyst recorded during March of last year.

J.D. Power Valuation Services also is standing pat on its full-year price prediction, saying the prices are likely to dip by 1.5 percent by the time 2018 concludes.

Meanwhile, in February, analysts indicated February wholesale prices “weren’t quite as strong as originally anticipated,” as they edged 0.2 percent lower year-over-year. The February figure still was an improvement over what J.D. Power Valuation Services spotted in February 2017 when analysts recorded a 0.9 percent softening.

The latest price movement left the J.D. Power Valuation Services Seasonally Adjusted Used Vehicle Price Index at 114.5 in February, representing an uptick of 0.2 percent.

For the second month in a row, analysts discovered that the large utility segment experienced the largest wholesale price drop within the mainstream side of the market. J.D. Power Valuation Services pegged the February decline at 2.1 percent. Last February, this segment sustained a 1.6 percent decrease. Driving the recent drop is a 26.7-percent jump in auction volume for these units.

J.D. Power Valuation Services also mentioned large pickup prices now have declined for five consecutive months courtesy of a 0.6-percent softening in February.

Conversely within the mainstream side, analysts noted compact car prices ticked up by 0.8 percent as prices stayed strong for midsize cars “because of federal tax returns.”

Per the Internal Revenue Service, J.D. Power Valuation Services relayed that the total number of federal tax refunds issued through mid-February sat 2.9 percent lower than at the same juncture last year. But the IRS noted that the average refund of $3,169 is 1 percent higher year-over-year.

“As a result, there were likely fewer of these shoppers in the marketplace last month armed with down payments,” analysts said in the latest Guidelines.

Moving over the premium side of the wholesale space, J.D. Power Valuation Services indicated that segment losses were led by luxury compact utilities, which suffered a 2.4-percent price reduction in February.

While analyst spotted other luxury segment with roughly a 2-percent price decline in February, they also pointed out that luxury large car prices actually rose 1 percent.

“Over the past five Februarys, prices for the segment have decline by about 5 percent,” J.D. Power Valuation Services said. “It’s important to remember this is an extremely low-volume segment so any significant price movement from month-to-month on any model can have a powerful impact on the group’s overall price movement.

“An example of this would be the 3.7-percent increase in 2014 and 2015 Hyundai Equus wholesale prices observed over the period,” the firm added.

David Paris, executive analyst at J.D. Power Valuation Services, discussed market trends in as well as at the top of the page.

 


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