Marginal decline in construction equipment sales
But CECE says growth will return in the European market during 2016
CONSTRUCTION equipment sales across Europe suffered a slight 2.5% decline in 2015, compared with 2014, according to recent figures released by the Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE). But Sebastian Popp, economic expert at CECE, said ‘what looks like bad news needs to be interpreted carefully’.
According to the Committee’s Annual Economic Report 2016, the continued free fall in the Russian market was a decisive factor in distorting the overall market statistics. In fact equipment sales in Europe, excluding Russia, saw a growth of 3.5% putting Europe in the top three performing regions in the world in 2015, behind only the Middle East and India.
‘The growth of the European construction equipment sector seen in 2014 could not be sustained in 2015; as sales in Europe declined slightly by a moderate 2.5%,’ commented Mr Popp.
‘Within Europe, however, market developments were highly diverse, a phenomenon which is apparent even in the large volume markets. We saw growth of almost 40% in Italy, but also a decline of 25% in France which had a very bad year, but showed clear signs of stabilization towards the last quarter. Central and Eastern European countries and Southern Europe were the pillars of growth, though from very different start points. Germany, the UK and the Nordic Countries remained the anchors of stability.’
Looking ahead, CECE forecasts a slight increase in equipment sales, particularly in the first half of the year. It seems most likely that the recovery in Southern Europe will continue, particularly in Italy and Spain.
Fuelled by infrastructure investments, Central and Eastern Europe should continue its growth. France could win back a portion of what was lost in 2015, whilst high volume markets, including Germany, the UK, Nordic countries, Benelux, Austria and Switzerland, are not expected to see further growth but a slump is not expected either.
Turkey has the potential to further accelerate growth, but political issues could limit investment activity. However, no significant change is anticipated for Russia. Overall, CECE says this translates into a modest single-digit growth rate as the most realistic scenario for sales in Europe.