Pakistan Auto Industry a victim of limited foreign exchange availability

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has set a quota on imports for car assemblers, assigning 50%/60%/70% of the average import during the March-June period for July/August/September, respectively.

The 70% quota has continued for the time being, although OEMs are pushing for the government to increase the quota. Consequently, PSMC has had to pay PKR2.2 billion in port charges as imported kits could not be cleared.

The local auto part manufacturers have recently stated their fears of going bankrupt given the lackluster pricing from OEMs. Unless the margins incorporated in the pricings are unfrozen, production lines for these part manufacturers may come to a halt, adversely affecting the localized supply for Assemblers.

On the flipside, in case the pricings are revised, already depressed margins for OEMs may be further pressured due to increasing Cost of Sales. On a QoQ basis, sales of passenger cars and LCVs have dropped by 53% in 1QFY23 as compared to the previous quarter.

INDU had run its production plant for 9 days in July, with two weeks off in August and September each. The same negative impact of delayed deliveries is experienced by other OEMs, with PSMC shutting down its plant for 25 days between August and October along with closure of bookings.

HCAR showed better inventory management, not having to shut down plants in Q1, although the company has closed down its plant for 12 days in October. In August, auto assemblers have hiked prices by 15% at an average from previous revision. This is on top of the 15% hikes experienced in the last quarter.

The reduction in demand for auto-financing can be expected to impact INDU lesser, as it remained protected compared to HCAR and PSMC, with merely 20% of sales through auto-financing previously, lesser compared to 35-45% of the other two.

As disposable incomes remain stagnant and auto-financing getting out of reach, coupled with exuberant hikes in prices in the past 5 months, analysts expect demand for automobiles to decline substantially in FY23.

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