New car sales have seen impressive growth in Bahrain year-to-date, rising by a reported 22% over H114, to 31,608 units. Given the positive start to 2014, we have decided to make an upwards revision to our 2014 sales forecast. BMI is now forecasting 14.5% growth in 2014, up from the previous forecast of just above 7%. This will take full-year new vehicle sales to around 63,298 units.
BMI's positive view on the near-term outlook for the Bahraini economy underpins our upbeat stance. Our Country Risk team is currently targeting 3.4% real GDP growth for 2014, rising to 3.8% in 2015 and 2016. In particular, we feel that Bahrain's economic growth will remain driven by the non-hydrocarbon sector heading into 2015, with supportive fiscal policies and progress on government-backed infrastructure projects helping to balance still-restrained business activity.
The country's inflation backdrop is also improving, with BMI having revised down its 2014 annual average CPI forecast to 2.9%, from 3.4% previously. Although rental prices will continue to see strong growth as a result of tight housing stocks, weak international food prices and restrained wage growth will limit overall inflation. This could reduce pressure on the Central Bank to make any changes to domestic interest rates, which would prove helpful for any Bahraini consumers seeking financing for their new vehicle purchases.
However, there are some impediments to economic growth, which is why we believe that growth in new vehicle sales will temper slightly in 2015. First, we do not expect a broad-based upturn in the private sector over the coming quarters, given that the persistent uncertainty of Bahrain's political landscape remains a barrier to business confidence and investment. Secondly, employment growth continues to slow, with wage growth also decelerating.. All of this means that growth in private consumption - a key indicator of likely demand for new vehicles - will slow from 5.8% in 2014, to 4% in 2015....
The Bahrain Autos Report features the latest data and forecasts covering production, sales, imports and exports.
Business Monitor International (BMI)'s Bahrain Autos Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, auto associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the automotives market in Bahrain.
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BMI Industry View
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