| 7.9°C Belfast

Drop in car sales reflects low mood

One of the most accurate measures of consumer confidence has again highlighted a divide between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

New car sales here fell by 0.53% in June to 4,901 while England, Scotland and Wales all saw a hike in the number of new cars being sold from forecourts. The latest data, from the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT), brings the total number of new cars sold here in the year to date to 28,001, a fall of 330 on the same period last year.

Spending on items such as cars is one of the first things to be dropped when consumers are under pressure and therefore the numbers give a good insight into the prevailing mood.

Across the UK as a whole, there were 189,514 new registrations in June 2012 - a 3.49% increase on the June 2011 total.

There was a 47.8% rise in sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles last month, while diesel sales also rose.