US construction equipment exports fall again

By Chris Sleight28 September 2015

Exports of US-made construction equipment declined -17% for the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to the US-based Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), citing US Department of Commerce data. The total value of exports came to US$ 7.4 billion in the first half of the year.

The AEM said sales to all regions of the world declined in the first half of the year, led by Africa, where sales of US-made construction equipment fell -44% to US$ 385 million. Latin America also saw a steep drop-off, with the value of equipment sold to South America falling -23% to US$ 990 million, while exports to Central America were down -21% to US$ 748 million.

Elsewhere in the world, exports to Asia were down -11% to US$ 923 million, Australia/Oceania dropped -10% to US$ 417 million and Europe was down -14% to US$ 878 million. Canada, the largest export market for US construction equipment manufacturers was down -12% to US$ 3.1 billion.

AEM director of market intelligence, Benjamin Duyck, said, “The second quarter of 2015 marked the 10th consecutive quarter that US construction equipment exports experienced year over year declines and the 7th consecutive quarter that imports rose. While exports decreased for every major region, the only equipment category we noticed some export growth in were generator sets.

“While the US market remains stable overall (there are some areas affected by the lower oil prices), the US trade balance for our industry continues to slump. It is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of this situation, as there are many issues at play here.

“First of all, a stronger US dollar is making US manufacturers less competitive. In September 2015, the Broad Weighted Trade Index for the US Dollar, provided to us by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, had grown +18.2% compared to January 2014 and +21.5% compared to January 2013.

“A second issue is the global deterioration of demand due to cyclical and structural issues. As investment is flowing from the emerging markets back to the developed western nations, demand for construction equipment travels with it. While not all emerging markets are hit evenly, we can expect the current Chinese downturn to have effect on our markets also. Naturally, shifts in investments allow for growth elsewhere.”

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