January 16, 2018 / 12:49 AM / a year ago

Australia new vehicle sales surge to record peaks in Dec

SYDNEY, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Australian sales of new vehicles surged by the most since 2012 in December to hit record highs for the month and the year, adding to signs of a pick up in consumer spending after a prolonged soft spell.

Tuesday’s data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed sales jumped 4.5 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted 103,743, a marked step up from November’s 0.2 percent gain and the highest since August 2012.

Sales were 6.7 percent higher than in December 2016, while a total of 1.19 million vehicles were sold in 2017.

Sales of sports utilities climbed 7.2 percent in December, from the previous month, to reach another record. Sales in the “other” sector which comprises mainly commercial vehicles also shot up 7.2 percent in a promising sign for business investment.

The ABS said this would be the last release of the series, which is based on previously released figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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