SANTIAGO, June 10 (Reuters) - New cars sales in Chile contracted in annual terms for the ninth straight month in May as consumer demand and sentiment remain subdued in the world’s top copper exporter, the national car association ANAC said on Wednesday.
Sales of compact and mid-sized cars fell 16.2 percent in May from a year earlier to 21,184 units. Total accumulated sales for the first five months of 2015 are down 22.8 percent from 2014 to 107,861 units, ANAC said in its monthly report.
Chile’s economy expanded 1.9 percent in 2014, its slowest since a 2009 recession, as consumer spending and investment cooled. Economic growth picked up its pace in the first quarter of 2015, expanding 2.4 percent versus a year earlier.
Even so, the economic recovery has been slower than initially expected and a recent survey showed that consumer confidence fell in April to its lowest in five years as financial scandals, natural disasters and continued weak economic growth sapped sentiment.
The top-selling car brands in Chile are GM’s Chevrolet, Kia and Hyundai.
In January, ANAC forecast sales of new cars in Chile to slump over 18 percent in 2015. (Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Alan Crosby)