Chinese equipment market fell -37% in first half of 2012

By Chris Sleight01 August 2012

Forecast for unit sales of construction equipment in China. SOURCE: Off-Highway Research.

Forecast for unit sales of construction equipment in China. SOURCE: Off-Highway Research.

Construction equipment sales in China fell -37% in the first half of the year to 196,370 machines, compared to 314,090 units in January to June 2011, according to a new report by Off-Highway Research. The specialist forecasting company says the market is expected to fall -30% in total this year to 343,190 machines, compared to 2011's record volume of 487,800 pieces of equipment.

Among the high volume equipment types, the downturn has been most severe in mobile cranes, where volumes were down -45% compared to a year ago, at 12,600 units for the first six months of 2012. Hydraulic excavator volumes meanwhile were down -41% to 64,000 units, while wheeled loader sales have fallen -35% to 87,500 machines. The compact equipment sector was less severely affected, with a -20% fall in mini excavator sales to 20,000 machines.

Commenting on the state of the market, Off-Highway Research said, "There had been some market corrections in previous years, but the record year-on-year fall of -37% in the first half represents real depression, and has put great pressure on the industry as whole."

The company added that the downturn has been due to credit tightening and other policies aimed at cutting inflation and curbing a boom in the real estate market.

"After the earlier, substantial fiscal stimulus had come to an end, the central government turned to tighten the money supply to control inflation which was one of the greatest threats to the economy. While the industry expected this would have run its course by the middle of 2011, fiscal tightening actually continued into the first half of 2012. The result was that it slowed down the CPI, but it also had a negative impact on the economy as a whole, and the construction equipment industry has been very badly affected," it said.

Off-Highway Research expects the market to return to growth in 2013, with a +10% rebound. However, subsequent years of moderate growth are forecast to see volumes reach 420,120 units by 2016 - still -14% below the peak seen in 2011.

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