CEA’s UK Construction and Earthmoving Equipment Report – Q1

Paul Lyons, CEA’s (Construction Equipment Association) Market Information Manager takes a look at the trends of UK Exports and Imports of Construction and Earthmoving equipment* in the first quarter of 2016.
UK exports of construction and earthmoving equipment have been on a declining trend since 2013, reflecting weak demand in many of the major overseas markets. However, export levels in recent quarters are continuing to show signs of stabilising. Exports in Jan/Mar 2016 in volume terms at 81.4 k tonnes were at very similar levels to the last 2 quarters of 2015. Jan/Mar 2016 levels were up by 0.3% on Oct/Dec levels, and only 0.7% down on Jan/Mar 2015 levels.
In value terms, exports showed a 4.5% increase in Jan/Mar compared with Oct/Dec at £351 million (fob), but were still 1% down on Jan/Mar 2015 levels.
UK imports of construction and earthmoving equipment have been on a rising trend since 2013, reflecting modest improvement in demand in the domestic market. However, imports in the last 2 quarters have been below levels in the previous 3 quarters. In Jan/Mar 2016, imports were 58.9 k tonnes, and showed a 36.3% increase on very low Oct/Dec 2015 levels, but were still 8.5% below Jan/Mar 2015 levels.
In value terms, imports show a very similar pattern to tonnage volumes, with a 33.8% increase to £281 million (cif) in Jan/Mar 2016 compared with Oct/Dec, but were still 8.8% down on Jan/Mar 2015 levels.
Measured in volume terms, the trade gap narrowed in Jan/Mar 2016, with net exports at 22.5 k tonnes more than imports, compared with 37.9 k tonnes in Oct/Dec. However, this was above the levels of the first 3 quarters of 2015, when the gap was less than 18k tonnes.
In value terms, the trade gap narrowed to an export surplus of £70 million in Jan/Mar, compared with £126 million in Oct/Dec, but also remains ahead of levels in the first 3 quarters of 2015.
In Jan/Mar 2016, UK equipment manufacturers exported machines to approximately 140 different countries. In volume terms, the top 3 destinations accounted for over a third of total exports, consisting of the USA (15%), Irish Republic (12%) and Germany (8%). Exports to the USA in Jan/Mar 2016 showed reductions on both Oct/Dec (-4%) and Jan/Mar 2015 (-8%), reflecting a cooling down in market demand in North America after a number of years of strong growth. Strongest growth in export volumes in % terms in Jan/Mar v Oct/Dec were to Turkey, France, Germany and Sweden. Exports to Russia continue to decline, falling to less than 200 tonnes in Jan/Mar 2016, after being at levels between 5-6,000 tonnes per quarter in 2013, when this market was the 4th largest for export volumes from the UK. Economic and political difficulties continue in this market.
In Jan/Mar 2016, UK imports of construction and earthmoving equipment arrived from 45 different countries. The top 2 importing countries across 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 were Japan and Germany, who between them, accounted for c.26% of total volume, and c.29% of total value. However, volumes from Japan have been declining, with Jan/Mar 2016 levels (c.8 k tonnes) below all quarterly volumes in 2015. Imports from Germany in Jan/Mar 2016 (c.7 k tonnes) were higher than levels in the second half of 2015, but below levels in the first half of the year.
Belgium and the Netherlands remain as 2 of the highest importing countries (ranked 3rd and 5th), accounting for c.20% of total imports between them. However, these markets are recognised as being a “last” country of shipment into the UK, rather than the source destination of the equipment.
Imports from China in Jan/Mar 2016 were 340 tonnes, similar to 2014 average levels, and ranked only 17th amongst importing countries. In 2015, China was ranked as the 11th highest source of imports, due to a very high level of 6,100 tonnes in the Jul/Sep quarter.
Editors Notes:
*Definition of equipment included in the analysis of export and import statistics.
Trade data has been used from 3 different HS (Harmonized System) codes: 8426, 8429 and 8430. This includes the equipment types listed below. This covers most of the equipment types made by CEA members, but will exclude some (for example telescopic handlers).
8426 – cranes (but excluding gantry cranes, overhead travelling cranes and ship derrick cranes)
8429 – construction and earthmoving equipment – including bulldozers, graders, scrapers, loaders, excavators, shovels, tamping machines and road rollers.
8430 – pile driving and pile extracting equipment, coal, rock cutting and tunnelling equipment and other boring or sinking machinery.
Exports and Imports of Equipment (Tonnes) Exports and Imports of Equipment 2