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Photo: Jim Watson, AFP via Getty Images

The used car supply shortage is loosening up.

Why it matters: Used car prices exploded in the past year, boosting inflation substantially, as disruptions in the production of new cars held back the supply of preowned cars.

By the numbers: As of mid-July, there were 44 days of supply in the used car market, according to Manheim. This means that at the current rate of used car sales, it would take 44 days to clear the inventory.

  • This is up from 36 days a month ago and a low of 30 days in mid-April.
  • "44 days’ supply is the normal pre-pandemic used-vehicle inventory level," Cox Automotive chief economist Jonathan Smoke tells Axios.

What they’re saying: "Simultaneously, the used market is approaching an equilibrium shift in demand and supply," Smoke says.

  • Manheim tells Axios that this shift is being driven by both a modest decline in used car sales volume and an improvement in used car supply.
  • Even though new car sales cooled off last month, they’re still strong. And buyers continue to take advantage of trade-in offers, which have brought many more used cars to market.
  • "At the same time, automakers are requiring lessees to turn in their leases after pandemic-related delays, which also increases the number of used vehicles in the market," Smoke says.
  • Indeed, Manheim also reported that wholesale used vehicle prices declined 1.7% during the first half of July from June.

What to watch: Despite the favorable trends in supply and the very recent decline in wholesale prices, retail prices are still high.

  • But as Axios' Felix Salmon recently reported, retail used car prices lag wholesale prices by about a month.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 26, 2021 - Health

Supply chain shortages' latest victim: crutches

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An aluminum shortage tied to the global supply chain crunch has led to a new medical supply shortage: crutches.

Why it matters: The latest example of pandemic-spurred medical supply chain problems could become a much bigger problem in the next couple of months which are typically the busiest time of the year for orthopedic surgeries.

  • That's because many people try to squeeze their surgeries before the end of the year before their deductibles reset in January.
Hope King, author of Closer
Oct 26, 2021 - Economy & Business

Higher prices are the new norm, with no end in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies are making money at record rates thanks in part to customers who are willing to pay higher prices.

Why it matters: In order to keeping that corporate profitability streak going, shoppers should expect sticker prices to stay high or become more expensive well into 2022. Fewer promotions and shallower discounts will also become the norm as inventory levels remain low.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.