UK exports of construction and earthmoving equipment have remained buoyant in 2017, showing a 21% increase in the first nine months compared with 2016, according to figures compiled by the UK’s Construction Equipment Association (CEA).
UK imports of equipment also remained strong, the CEA said, showing a 12% increase in the first nine months of 2017 compared with 2016. This was said to reflect increased demand in the domestic equipment market this year.
UK exports of construction and earthmoving equipment showed a further modest increase in the third quarter of 2017, representing a fourth consecutive quarter of growth.
Exports in the third quarter showed a 1.3% increase on the second quarter levels at £723 million (€809.17 million), and was at the highest quarterly level since the second quarter of 2015. Overall, exports in the first nine months of the year were 21% up on 2016 levels.
The CEA said that the increasing levels of exports of equipment could be attributed to improving demand in many of the major overseas markets, as well as the benefit of the weaker Sterling exchange rate since the middle of 2016, following the Brexit referendum for the UK to leave the European Union.
The US remained the top destination for UK exports in the first nine months of 2017, accounting for 23% of total exports on a Sterling value basis. Collectively, exports to EU28 countries have increased to 44% of total exports on a Sterling value basis in the first nine months of the year, compared with 41% in 2016, said the CEA.
Imports of equipment showed a reduction in the third quarter, which the CEA said followed the same seasonal pattern as the last two years – peaking in the second quarter of the year, and bottoming in the fourth quarter.
However, in Sterling value terms, imports in the third quarter were 6% higher than the same quarter in 2016, at £342 million (€382.81 million). In the first nine months of 2017, imports have been 12% higher than the same period in 2016 on a value basis at £1.13 billion (€1.26 billion), it reported.
The CEA added that higher levels of imports of equipment in the first nine months of the year were consistent with higher equipment sales to the UK market, according to the UK construction equipment data exchange. This is operated by Systematics International, a specialist data processing company.
It shows an increase of 6% in equipment sales in the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2016.
Japan remains the single biggest country source of imports in 2017, accounting for 20% of total imports of equipment in the first nine months of the year on a value basis.
Overall, the UK remains a net exporter of construction and earthmoving equipment, measured in both weight and value terms. In the third quarter, the trade surplus increased to £381 million (€426.34 million), the highest quarterly level since 2014.
In the first nine months of the year, the export surplus showed a 33% increase on the same period in 2016, said the CEA.
The data used was taken from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) official trade statistics, and covers construction and earthmoving equipment, excluding separate trade data for components and parts.