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Construction equipment sales up in first half


CECE see signs of growth visible in the European construction equipment industry

CONSTRUCTION equipment sales on the European market grew by 10.2% in the first half of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013, according to recent figures released by CECE, the Committee of European Construction Equipment.

Sales of construction equipment in Southern European countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal improved notably in the first half, signalling that the European construction sector is now stabilizing after having hit the bottom.

However, the business climate decreased markedly after the summer and CECE believes market demand could cool down in the second half of the year, particularly in countries such as Germany, France and the UK.

Nevertheless, Eric Lepine, president of CECE and managing director of Caterpillar France, speaking at a press conference on the occasion of the CECE Congress in Antwerp earlier this month, said: ‘Looking at 2014 as a whole, robust growth figures across product groups and countries still seem realistic.’

The star performer among the European markets continues to be the UK. Here, earthmoving equipment sales grew by 44% in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2013. The other Northern and Western European countries all recorded a robust growth too, while the Central and Eastern European countries have been developing unevenly.

The majority of European construction equipment manufacturers report growing incoming orders, particularly from non-European countries, especially the Middle East.

Elsewhere in the world, North American markets are also developing reasonably well while Latin America is said to be showing no signs of improvement.

Asia shows mixed signs with no acceleration in construction equipment demand in India expected before next year, while China is currently facing another troubled year after cautious optimism in the first-quarter changed back to a negative evaluation. As a result, China will probably see the third consecutive year of double-digit declines.

South-east Asian countries, including Indonesia, are performing much better, and the second quarter has also brought about a turnaround for Australia, which is now on a growth path despite the weakness in its mining industry.

In terms of product groups, road equipment was the best performing construction equipment sub-sector, with CECE expecting double-digit growth for 2014. Earthmoving equipment also did well in the first half, with 9.6% sales growth on a year-over-year basis. ‘While this is positive, we have to bear in mind that it is 43% below the peak we had in 2007,’ said Mr Lepine.

The post-summer CECE surveys show the overall business climate heading markedly downwards, but also confirm a positive trend in the construction industry in general for the second half of 2014, with the balance of incoming orders still stable. ‘Overall, CECE maintains its growth estimate of up to 10% for the European construction equipment industry over the year,’ concluded Mr Lepine.

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