U.S. construction equipment exports continue rising

U.S. construction equipment exports grew to more than $6 billion for the first six months of 2005, according to data released by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Construction machinery exports to South America increased 64 percent for the first half of 2005, representing $809 million worth of purchases. Exports to Asia and Central America also improved, with exports to Asia growing 59 percent to $854 million and Central America taking delivery of $443 million worth of machinery for a 14.5 percent gain.

Europe saw a 48-percent rise in its purchases of American construction machinery. People from that continent spent $1.1 billion on U.S. construction equipment, while exports to Canada gained 41 percent for a total of $2.1 billion. U.S.-made construction equipment bound for Australia/Oceania during the first half of 2005 totaled $589 million, a gain of 48 percent, while exports to Africa rose 5 percent to reach $192 million.

The Freedonia Group, an international business research company, projects worldwide demand for heavy construction equipment to rise 5.4 percent annually through 2009 to $106 billion. The group says growth will be supported by the continued expansion of emerging markets, with high points including Eastern Europe, India and China.

North America is expected to maintain its lead within the triad (North America, Japan and Western Europe) in terms of both overall demand and growth potential. The explosive U.S. real estate market drove expansion in North American heavy construction equipment demand, according to Freedonia.

The group also expects future prospects to remain favorable in China despite weakening of the construction equipment market due to tightening credit policies. Japan will benefit from an improvement in fixed investment activity, while most West European markets are expected to post only moderate growth in construction equipment consumption.