U.S. Construction Equipment Exports Still in a Slump

AEM Provides Market Update and Analysis

MILWAUKEE (June 2, 2016) – Exports of U.S.-made construction equipment declined 25 percent overall for first quarter 2016 compared to first quarter 2015 with a total $2.7 billion shipped to global markets.
Africa and South America experienced the sharpest declines, each down nearly 50 percent, while Central America exports were stable and Europe gained slightly, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), citing U.S. Department of Commerce data it uses in global market reports for members.
AEM is the North American-based international business group representing the off-road equipment manufacturing industry.
Exports by World Region
First quarter 2016 U.S. construction equipment exports by major world regions compared to first quarter 2015:

  • Canada dropped 28 percent, for a total $1.1 billion
  • Europe gained 5 percent, for a total $455 million
  • Central America fell 1 percent, for a total $378 million
  • Asia decreased 37 percent, for a total $290 million
  • South America declined 47 percent, for a total $258 million
  • Australia/Oceania fell 10 percent to $162 million
  • Africa declined 49 percent to $107 million 

AEM Market Analysis Overview
AEM’s Benjamin Duyck, director of market intelligence, provides some insights:
The 1st quarter of 2016 marked the 13th consecutive quarter that U.S. construction equipment exports experienced year-over-year declines. The continued downturn in exports is linked to the strong U.S. dollar, reducing our nation’s competitiveness by making U.S. equipment relatively more expensive. Overall, the construction industry is expected to continue to grow by 3.4 percent globally in 2016, according to Business Monitor International; however, roughly half that growth is expected from the North American markets.
The most impactful decreases in exports could be found in the earthmoving equipment segment, which decreased roughly 35 percent. While small, we did see increases in the lifting equipment segment, driven mostly by self-propelled aerial work platforms.
Looking at the individual countries, Belgium was up roughly 38 percent, which might look surprising. The Port of Antwerp, though, serves as a pass- through for the European continent. Exports to Germany and the United Kingdom were also up; growth in Germany appears to have been driven by a boost in excavators and wheel loader exports and exports to the UK appear to be driven by an increase in self-propelled aerial work platforms.
Exports by Top 10 Countries
The top countries buying the most U.S.-made construction machinery during first quarter 2016 (by dollar volume) were:

  1. Canada – $1.1 billion, down 28 percent  
  2. Mexico – $310 million, down .01 percent
  3. Australia – $148 million, down 10 percent
  4. Belgium – $101 million, up 38 percent
  5. Peru – $85 million, down 17 percent
  6. Germany – $74 million, up 58 percent
  7. Chile – $60 million, down 48 percent
  8. China – $49 million, down 31 percent
  9. United Kingdom – $47 million, up 8 percent
  10. South Africa – $40 million, down 65 percent  

Economic Resources Available
AEM provides a variety of market macroeconomic and industry trend data for members as well as survey opportunities and custom research. Visit www.aem.org in the Market Data/Market Intelligence section. For more information, contact AEM’s Benjamin Duyck, director of market intelligence ([email protected]).