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Scottish sales down 6%

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Sales of construction and earthmoving equipment in Scotland fell by nearly 6% in 2018 while the UK figure grew by 2%.

Growth in the UK was in spite of an 8% slump in the final quarter compared with the same period in 2017. The trend over the previous two years had been steady but slower expansion.

After a modest improvement last year, retail sales in the UK market reached nearly 31,000 units, according to the construction equipment statistics exchange*.

Of the most popular machine types, crawler excavators over 10 tonnes showed strongest growth – more than 16% ahead of 2017 – pushing minis and midis into second place at 4% growth year-on-year. The weakest performance last year was telehandler sales to the construction market. After weak sales in the second half of the year, total sales in 2018 were 10% below those of the previous 12 months.

Strongest sales were in London and Yorkshire, while the weakest were the north east of England and Wales.

With construction output in 2018 showing only 0.7% growth, the 2% lift in construction equipment sales is considered a positive performance, fuelled largely by sustained demand from the rental sector.

In contrast, exports showed very strong growth according to official customs statistics from HMRC. They reveal exports reaching £3,473m, an increase of 19% over 2017.

“This reflects strong demand in many of the major overseas markets, and is significant for UK equipment manufacturers, as exports of equipment are estimated to account for over 60% of UK machine production,” said Paul Lyons, market data analyst at the Construction Equipment Association.

“Imports of equipment also increased in 2018 to £1,633m, which was 11% higher than 2017, and is consistent with domestic demand for equipment remaining strong. As a result of the above, the over-all trade surplus for construction equipment showed a 28% increase in 2018, reaching £1,839m.”

* The construction equipment statistics exchange is run by Systematics International Ltd in partnership with the Construction Equipment Association.

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©Scottish Plant.  Article posted 26/2/2019