According to Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, global markets for U.S. manufactured construction equipment reflected the downward trend in mining and the strong building growth in the United Arab Emirates.
AEM’s Benjamin Duyck, director of market intelligence, provides some insights:
In the fourth quarter of 2015, construction machinery exports continued to experience year-over-year declines for the 12th consecutive month. The year-end also marked the 3rd consecutive yearly decline. These declines need to be placed in the proper context as exports boomed after the Great Recession and strongly supported the U.S. construction equipment industry. Additionally, there are regional differences affecting exports.
The deteriorating export position does not come as a surprise as the U.S. faces strong external headwinds. Global economic markets such as China and Brazil are experiencing deep-rooted structural problems and a strong U.S. dollar is making U.S. 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.
U.S. exports are not deteriorating as strongly for every region. For example, 2015 exports to Australia, the 3rd largest trading partner with the U.S., grew 2.5 percent compared to 2014, and were up 20 percent in the 4th quarter compared to the same quarter in the previous year. While for 2015 there was a small 1-percent regional decline for Australia/Oceania, the region clearly outperformed the global community.
The top countries buying the most U.S.-made construction machinery during 2015 (by dollar volume):
- Canada - $5.5 billion, down 18 percent
- Mexico - $1.2 billion, down 24 percent
- Australia - $829 million, up 2.5 percent
- Belgium - $334 million, down 28 percent
- Chile - $492 million, down 20 percent
- United Arab Emirates - $272 million, up 73 percent
- South Africa - $344 million, down 49 percent
- Peru - $330 million, down 28 percent
- Brazil - $403 million, down 44 percent
- China - $267 million, down 27.5 percent