U.S. Construction Equipment Exports Down Nearly 15% in Q1 2015

Marks the 9th consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines, while imports continue to increase

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Exports of U.S.-made construction equipment declined 14.9% for first quarter 2015 compared to first quarter 2014, with a total $3.65 billion shipped to global markets.

All world regions experienced declines, and all in the double digits except Europe and Canada, with Africa the hardest hit, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the North American-based international trade group representing the off-road equipment manufacturing industry. AEM cited U.S. Department of Commerce data it uses in global market reports for members.

First quarter 2015 U.S. construction equipment exports by major world regions compared to first quarter 2014:

  • Canada dropped 4.6%, for a total $1.5 billion
  • South America declined 26%, for a total $482.5 million
  • Asia decreased 15.8%, for a total $458.2 million
  • Europe dropped 6.6%, for a total $433.1 million
  • Central America fell 15.3%, for a total $382.7 million
  • Australia/Oceania fell 23% to $179 million
  • Africa decreased 43.3% to $210.1 million 

AEM Market Analysis Overview

AEM’s Benjamin Duyck, director of market intelligence, provides some insights:

The 1st quarter of 2015 marked the 9th consecutive quarter that U.S. construction equipment exports experienced year-over-year declines, while imports continue to increase.

U.S. Construction Equipment Exports Drop 13% in 2014

This can be partially explained by the stable U.S. market and the strong dollar, making U.S. equipment manufacturers less competitive. Opposing the strong dollar is a weaker euro that is also driving European exports.

Overall, the Q1 2015 trade deficit has subtracted 1.9% from GDP growth, the largest subtraction in 30 years. While the current currency issue is a long term one, recent exports also have suffered a short-term setback with the West Coast port dispute earlier this year.

While the U.S. experienced declines in exports to most major trading partners, exports to Vietnam, Turkey, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, France and Argentina increased significantly.

Exports by Top 10 Countries

The top countries buying the most U.S.-made construction machinery during first quarter 2015 (by dollar volume) were:

  1. Canada - $1.5 billion, down 4.6%
  2. Mexico - $310.3 million, down 16.1%
  3. Australia - $164 million, down 24.5%
  4. Brazil - $134 million, down 16.2%
  5. Chile - $116.7 million, down 40.8%
  6. South Africa - $116.4 million, down 51.8%
  7. Peru - $101.9 million, down 30.7%
  8. Belgium - $73.1 million, down 25.4%
  9. China - $70.1 million, down 34.6%
  10. South Korea - $64.9 million, down 10.9%  

AEM’s Construction Equipment Global Markets Export report and select other reports are available to the public through the AEM store (www.safetymaterials.org).