US construction equipment exports down 19%

By Mike Hayes04 March 2016

Year-end figures from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) show a 19% decline in the export of US-made construction equipment worldwide.

At US$ 13.9 billion, the AEM report’s figure for exported goods from the country marks the third consecutive annual fall in overseas sales.

Similarly feeling the pinch is Caterpillar, the country’s (and the world’s) largest construction equipment manufacturer, with the company’s shares falling 24% in 2015, compared with the previous year.

The company’s chairman and CEO, Doug Oberhelman, recently said, “…sales and revenues remain under pressure from weak commodity prices and slowing economic growth in developing countries.”

The AEM report cites US Department of Commerce data and reveals a decline in construction equipment sales to all world regions, with exports to Africa and South America significantly down (by 37% and 33% respectively).

US exports around the world also fell in the following regions, compared with 2014:

  • Canada -18%, to US$ 5.5 billion
  • Asia -10%, to $ 1.8 billion
  • Europe -12%, to $ 1.7 billion
  • Central America -23%, to $1.5 billion
  • Australia/Oceania -1% to $ 882 million

AEM’s Benjamin Duyck, director of market intelligence, said, “These declines do need to be placed in the proper context as exports boomed after the great recession and strongly supported the US construction equipment industry.”

He added, “Global economic markets such as China and Brazil are experiencing deep-rooted structural problems and a strong US dollar is making US exports more expensive for international buyers. The lower commodity prices (metals and energy) are causing shifts in some market segments and equipment demand, domestically and internationally.”

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