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China November car sales fall 14 percent, biggest drop since 2012

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By Reuters
China November car sales fall 14 percent, biggest drop since 2012
FILE PHOTO: A delivery driver rides his electric vehicle past Chinese and foreign car dealerships in Beijing, China October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter   -   Copyright  THOMAS PETER(Reuters)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s automobile sales fell 13.9 percent in November from a year earlier, the country’s top auto industry association said on Tuesday, marking the steepest such drop in more than six years in the world’s largest auto market.

The drop in sales to 2.55 million vehicles, a fifth straight decline in monthly numbers, comes against a backdrop of slowing economic growth and a crippling Sino-U.S. trade war. The last time sales fell by more than this was in January 2012, when business was hurt by the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday.

The November drop comes on the heels of almost 12 percent declines in each of the past two months, putting China on track for an annual sales contraction not seen since at least 1990.

Sales in the country totalled 25.4 million vehicles in the first eleven months of the year, down 1.7 percent from the same period a year earlier, data from then China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) shows.

The industry body did not immediately give a reason for the drop in November, but has recently cited the impact a sluggish economy and the trade war on sales.

(Reporting by Yilei Sun in Beijing and Adam Jourdan in Shanghai; Editing by Himani Sarkar)