Agricultural machinery: sudden braking in first quarter
Data on registrations in the first quarter of the year display wide swings of sharp gains in the month of January and steep drops in February and March. FederUnacoma President Alessandro Malavolti noted that in the wake of the increase in registrations at the end of 2017 the technical time required for registration extended into January this year to still show high percentages then followed in the two successive months by a sudden backlash due to the continuation of winter weather which put off crop operations. Registrations will settle down over the year so it will be possible to reach an effective evaluation of sales only in the months to come
Strong increases in the registration of tractors, combine harvesters, transporters and trailers came with the close of 2017 were reported but the Italian market trend turned negative in the first quarter of the current year.
Data elaborated by FederUnacoma, the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Federation, based on Ministry of Transport registrations pointed to a 2.2% decline for tractors by the end of March compared to the 2017 first quarter, a 10.3% drop for combines and a 7.7% downturn for trailers along with transporters up by 15,7%, telescopic handlers ahead by 13.6% though there was a sharp reduction in percentages in March compared to January.
For all types of machinery a study of the data display considerable swings from the first month of this year to the third: the registration of tractors in January was on a plus 54.7% trend and fell by 29% by the end of March; after showing a 11% gain in January, combine harvesters plunged by 38.5% in March and trailers moved from plus 10.6% to minus 16%.
For transporters, the registration average percentages of the quarter are up but a close examination for the period shows a plus 197.6% in January and 50.6% down in March. A similar trend is reported for telescopic handlers which opened in January at plus 102.2% and sank 27.9% in February to close 12.5% down in March.
Other types of machinery were also on the same course of steep reversals.
FederUnacoma President Alessandro Malavolti commented, “The unusual trend of this first quarter and the effect of the European Union Mother Regulation which forced the manufacturers to speed up ahead of the application of these new criteria for type-approval for sales and the registration of the machinery in their inventories.
“The surge of registrations last December,” he explained, “had a tail in January this year because of bureaucratic lengthening of the time for registration but the close of the drive at the end of 2017 led to a backlash for the drastic fall of registrations.
This was due not only to the normal downturn from the spike of registrations but also to the seasonal weather with protracted cold spells and winter events for significant delays of vegetable growth and the crop operations which may have had an impact on machinery demand.”
The time needed for registration procedures differ from region to region so, aside from national data average, the geography of registrations is very differentiated. For example, the first quarter in Emilia Romagna was plus 31.2% and 30.1% in Sicily and down 23.1% in Piedmont and by 29.5% in Veneto.
Malavolti concluded by remarking, “With this assessment phase the market should return to a more straightforward trend and understanding the real trend will be possible only in the months to come.
The manufacturers hope that over the course of 2018 the EU Rural Development Plans, RDP, financing are used more widely for the purchase of machinery and that farm income and general Italian economic conditions might encourage investments in technology innovations for renewing machinery inventories.”