Imports of US construction machinery fall sharply

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The Australia/Oceania region’s imports of US construction machinery fell by 38.6 percent in the first half of 2014 compared with midyear 2013, according to the US Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

Imports of US construction machinery fall sharply
The Australia/Oceania region’s imports of US construction machinery have fallen by 38.6 percent.

Citing US Department of Commerce data, the AEM says this was the steepest regional decline in a half-year that saw US$8.93 billion in exports shipped to global markets compared to US$10.8 billion — an overall drop of 17.3 percent.

Africa bucked the trend, however, increasing US-made imports by 4.3 percent and taking delivery of $682.1 million worth of construction equipment. It was the only region to post a gain.

The top 10 countries buying the most US construction machinery during the first half of 2014 were:

  1. Canada - $3.51 billion, down 4.6 percent
  2. Mexico - $770.4 million, down 24.6 percent
  3. Australia - $424.7 million, down 40.6 percent
  4. South Africa - $400.5 million, down 26.7 percent
  5. Brazil - $358.3 million, down 30.1 percent
  6. Chile - $299.8 million, down 37 percent
  7. Peru - $279.4 million, down 15.1 percent
  8. Belgium - $210.4 million, down 36.3 percent
  9. Saudi Arabia - $206.2 million, down 43.1 percent
  10. China - $189.8 million, down 21.8 percent

Despite the falls in exports, the AEM says the US construction equipment industry is driving the US economy through its US$57.1 billion economic footprint that supports 370,000 jobs.

Facing the twin threats of falling government investment in infrastructure projects and the possibility that lawmakers may not renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank — which helps support the industry’s export activity — the AEM has released a white paper authored by Inforum, an economic industry research organization at the University of Maryland, that presents the industry in a glowing light.

"The construction equipment industry contributes so much to our economy, and this report illustrates the vital importance of ensuring that this industry can continue to flourish and grow," AEM President Dennis Slater says.

"However, this report should also serve as a wake-up call to members of Congress, who can bolster the construction equipment sector by voting to reauthorise the Export-Import Bank, and finally by passing a long-term, fully-funded highway bill."

Despite the half-yearly declines outlines above, the Inforum report says exports of construction equipment have more than tripled — from US$5.5 billion to US$19.5 billion — over the last decade.

The full report can be read here.


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