U.S. Construction Equipment Exports Down 25 Percent


Exports of U.S.-made construction equipment fell 25 percent overall for the first three quarters of 2016 compared to 2015, for a total $8.2 billion shipped to global markets.

All world regions were in decline from single-digit drops for Europe and Central America to decreases in the 50-percent range for Africa and South America, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), citing U.S. Department of Commerce data it uses in global market reports for members.

January-September 2016 U.S. construction equipment exports by major world regions compared to January-September 2015: 

  • Canada dropped 21 percent, for a total $3.5 billion.
  • Europe declined 6 percent, for a total $1.2 billion.
  • Central America fell 9 percent, for a total $1.0 billion.
  • Asia decreased 30 percent, for a total $972 million.
  • South America declined 49 percent, for a total $733 million.
  • Australia/Oceania fell 36 percent to $427 million.
  • Africa declined 51 percent to $317 million.

AEM’s Benjamin Duyck, director of market intelligence, provides some insights:

“For the past 15 quarters U.S. exports of construction equipment declined year over year and in the third quarter of 2016, that trend remains unchanged. A key factor affecting the reduction in exports is most likely due to the strong dollar making U.S. manufacturers less competitive in the global marketplace. Of course, the strong currency is a problem that plagues all U.S. exports. Some international markets are still viable; exports are up year over year to Belgium and Germany, for example.

“Our expectations for the fourth quarter remain subdued as the U.S. dollar is experiencing its longest rally in 16 years. With the global economic malaise, the slowdown in emerging markets and the negative interest rates seen in several economies’ bond markets, investment is flowing to the U.S. and U.S. stocks, driving up demand for our dollar, inadvertently affecting our competitiveness abroad.”

The top countries buying the most U.S.-made construction machinery during the first three quarters of 2016 (by dollar volume) were:

  • Canada - $3.5 billion, down 21 percent.
  • Mexico - $831 million, down 9 percent.
  • Australia - $392 million, down 38 percent.
  • Belgium - $294 million, up 33 percent.
  • Germany - $202 million, up 24 percent.
  • China - $190 million, down 8 percent.
  • Peru - $181 million, down 30 percent.
  • Chile - $165 million, down 60 percent.
  • Japan - $147 million, up 6 percent.
  • Brazil - $145 million, down 61 percent.