U.S. construction equipment exports up 35 percent

The U.S. construction equipment industry exported $12 billion worth of machinery in 2005, a 35 percent increase over the previous year, according to data from a trade association representing North American equipment manufacturers.

Exports to South America grew the most in 2005 as the region took delivery of $1.6 billion worth of U.S. construction equipment, a 51 percent increase compared to 2004. Exports to Central America rose 15 percent, with total purchases of $925 million.

“In 2005 most of the equipment exported to Latin America was used primarily for general construction, transportation and mining projects,” said Arnold Huerta, assistant director of international marketing for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “This trend is expected to continue as the region is forecast to grow in 2006 and nations inject more money into their infrastructure sectors.”

Among the top 10 importers of U.S. construction equipment, China was the only country that bought less American machinery in 2005 than in 2004. China purchased $237 million worth of equipment, a 10-percent reduction from 2004.

Last year’s construction equipment exports to Asia increased 33 percent to $1.7 billion, while exports to Europe and Canada each increased 35 percent, totaling $2.1 billion and $4.1 billion, respectively. The amount exported to Europe is surprising since the 25 countries of the European Union collectively experienced only 1 percent construction growth in 2005, according to the European Commission’s autumn economic forecast.

The top 10 purchasers of U.S. construction equipment in 2005 were:

1. Canada — $4.1 billion, 35-percent increase
2. Australia — $1 billion, 40-percent increase
3. Mexico — $694 million, 11-percent increase
4. Belgium — $654 million, 60-percent increase
5. Brazil — $555 million, 113-percent increase
6. Chile — $514 million, 46-percent increase
7. Singapore — $507 million, 126-percent increase
8. China — $237 million, 10-percent decrease
9. Japan — $236 million, 59-percent increase
10. South Africa — $222 million, 44-percent increase