Fitch: Auto ABS to remain steady in 2012
Dec 25, 2011 Randy Mosteller
While a number of economists have expressed concern over the return of sub-prime lending in the auto financing sector, a new report from Fitch Ratings may quell such fears. According to Fitch, November noted considerable stability in the auto industry for asset-backed securities (ABS). U.S. prime and sub-prime auto loans and credit decisions showed performance stability, posting slight gains in both delinquencies and losses. "Key areas of focus next year for auto ABS performance will be the state of the U.S. job market and the health of the wholesale vehicle market," Fitch reported in a press released, adding that "the auto industry will continue to be exposed to the risks of rising fuel prices in 2012. In the auto ABS sector, higher fuel prices typically dampen demand for larger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs." This may drive down used vehicle values and reduce profit figures. Then again, Fitch noted, improvements in fuel efficiency standards and technology may recoup some of those losses. Earlier this month, TransUnion reported the national delinquency rate on auto loans is likely to remain near record-lows through much of next year.