Truckometer - Slow March
Posted: 12-Apr-2024 |

According to the latest Truckometer, the Light Traffic Index (LTI) rose 0.1% m/m in March, while the Heavy Traffic Index (HTI) fell 1.8% m/m after a couple of strong months. While both indices have a mild upward trend, in per capita terms light traffic is trending down while heavy traffic is pretty flat. 

The Light Traffic Index was little changed while the Heavy Traffic Index fell 1.8% in March, but is still up 2% for Q1 as a whole, suggesting low but positive GDP growth (we’ve pencilled in +0.2% q/q). However, the heavy traffic didn’t pick the fall in GDP in the second half of last year. 

Light traffic (motorbikes, cars and vans) is generally a good indicator of demand, as opposed to production. In the absence of sudden shocks, the light traffic data provides a 6-month lead on momentum in the economy. 

The trend in light traffic remains fairly flat despite strong population growth of 3%, meaning that in per capita terms the index is trending lower (using ANZ population forecasts). That is consistent with the trend in per capita GDP.

Heavy traffic data (mostly trucks) tends to provide a good steer on production GDP in real time, as it captures both goods production (including agriculture) and freight associated with both wholesale and retail trade. The heavy traffic index is 3.0% higher than a year ago (using a 3-month average to smooth out volatility), while light traffic is up 2.8%.

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