UK Q2 exports and imports of construction equipment continue to grow


UK exports of construction and earthmoving equipment continued to show modest growth in Q2 2016, reversing the declining trend seen in 2015, which reflected poor demand in many major overseas markets.

Measured in volume terms (tonnes), exports showed 6.1% growth in April/June 2016 compared with January/March, at 136,000 tonnes. However, compared with the same quarter in 2015, April/June was still 10.3% below last year’s level.

Measured in value terms, exports also show an improving trend but at more modest levels. April/June showed a 0.7% increase on January/March at £595m (US$785m), which in turn was 4.4% higher than October/December 2015.

Exports of equipment to EU markets remain on a rising trend, and account for a growing proportion of total exports. In volume terms (tonnes), exports to EU countries accounted for 47% of total exports in the first half of 2016, compared with 40% in 2015.

Latest market forecasts suggest that this trend is likely to continue in the second half of 2016, with equipment demand in European markets growing at stronger rates than all other markets except India.

The UK remains a net exporter of construction and earthmoving equipment, with the surplus remaining relatively stable in the last 18 months, within a range from 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes per quarter. In April/June 2016 the surplus was 62,000 tonnes, very similar to January/March levels. On a value basis, the export trade surplus has shown a narrowing trend in recent quarters, with April/June 2016 at £244m (US$322m), compared with an average of over £300m (US$396m) per quarter in 2015.

UK imports of construction and earthmoving equipment showed further increases in Q2 2016. Measured in volume terms (tonnes), imports showed a 10.5% increase in April/June compared with January/March, at 74,000 tonnes. However, in the first half of 2016 import levels are still 11% below 2015 levels.

In the first half of 2016, UK OEMs exported machines to over 160 different countries. The top three destinations accounted for over 40% of total exports in volume terms, consisting of the USA (22%), the Republic of Ireland (10%), and Germany (9%). Exports to the Republic of Ireland and Germany continue to show growth in 2016, while exports to the USA have fallen back from levels seen in the first half of 2015.

In the first half of 2016, UK imports of construction and earthmoving equipment arrived from over 60 different countries. The top two importing countries in 2016 are Japan and Germany, similar to 2015. Between them, these two countries accounted for 31% of total volume, and 34% of total value in January/June 2016. Both countries showed increased levels in April/June compared with January/March.

A more comprehensive report on UK exports and imports of construction and earthmoving equipment, including details by country, is available to CEA members.

Analysis of trade data in Q2 was conducted on a broader basis than the initial Q1 analysis. This change has been made to bring the definition of equipment included in the analysis in line with other country trade associations within CECE. For Q2, trade data has been used from nine different HS (Harmonized System) codes.

August 26, 2016

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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