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Used-Car Prices Aren’t Soaring Anymore – What It Means for Inflation

Used-car prices have held steady for a month. Not only was that good for the buyers, but maybe for anyone else now in the market for a used car—or for that matter, just about anything.

The Manheim used vehicle pricing index, a well-respected gauge owned by Cox Automotive, was 236.3 in January, essentially flat from December but up 45 percent from a year ago. The index posted four big consecutive monthly gains beginning in September—from 194.5 to 236.2. January was the first sign in nearly two years that things are cooling off.

The run-up in used-car values has been nothing short of jaw dropping, and high vehicle prices ­– for both new and used vehicles – have helped fuel the hot inflation that Americans are dealing with.

Investors might feel a little differently, however. Falling prices might be a headwind for several stocks that had terrific runs in 2021.

The flat number “is not a scene changer, but I suppose it fits the view that durable goods price inflation is about to become a less extreme irritant and may even at some point deliver a significant disinflationary pulse,” wrote Gerard MacDonell, 22V Research senior managing director, in an email to clients.

Read the full report from Al Root at Barron’s, courtesy of Yahoo Finance, here.

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