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Global markets declining, emerging markets in ferment

Agrievolution data on tractor sales signal declines in almost all the major countries' markets due to the downturn in income in the primary sector leading to reduced investments in the acquisition of machinery. According the findings of a FederUnacoma/Nomisma survey, some countries, especially in the Asian area, are showing a positive trend of growing mechanization demand in spite of unfavorable economic conditions

by the editorial staff
October - November 2016 | Back

The income crisis which swept through the agricultural sector in 2014 and 2015 and extending into the first part of the current year is still conditioning investment capabilities of farming enterprises and mirrored on agricultural machinery machinery markets as a widespread lowering of sales. Agrievolution – the organization which coordinates the associations of agricultural machinery manufacturers in the major countries as the most reliable source for gauging trends of the global markets – reported data pointing to significant declines in tractors in almost all the leading areas. For tractors in the category of more than 30 Hp, those defined as such without including the wide range of self-propelled machines with lower power and more limited functions, sales dipped 10% in the United States in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2015, fell 12% in Turkey and plunged 29% in China, against a trend of an exceptional pace over the past years. Substantial declines were reported for Russia and Brazil. Among the major markets, India can be cited for a counter trend with tractor sales up by 18%, a fi­gure which can be seen as a normal recovery in the wake of a substantial decline last year. Sales in Europe dropped 7% in the period but there were exceptions in Spain and France with gains of 11% and 7% respectively.

Though this data covers only the category of tractors over 30 Hp, the trend for self-propelled machines with lower power can run in the opposite direction as is the case for Turkey and the United States where these machine types are displaying growth.

Beyond domestic sales in the individual countries, there is special interest in the global markets for the flows of trade between the exporter countries and importers. On this point, FederUnacoma, the Italian Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Federation, called on Nomisma for conducting a survey of the countries with strong records of imports of tractors and other agricultural machinery to highlight the areas of greatest interest for the future prospects of the manufacturing industries at the present time. 

Conclusive data on the volumes of tractor imports indicate that the United States is in the lead with a value of nearly $ 4 billion, followed by France at close to $ 2.2 billion, then Canada and Germany at around $ 1.2 billion each and on down to the United Kingdom,  Belgium and Australia. For other types of agricultural machinery, the classification of the big importers is again headed by the United States with a value of $ 10.7 billion, followed by Germany at just under $ 5 billion and then down to France, Canada, the UK and China. All this shows that the major countries producing agricultural machinery are nonetheless interested in market outlets and are strong importers due to the the dynamics typical of the most developed countries’ economies. Analyses of data on the largest import growth rates, beyond the volume of imports, disclose the geography of new trade trends in turbulence. Over the six year period 2010 to 2015 the country with the sharpest increase in tractor imports was Cuba with growth of 870%, followed by Philippines (580%) and Vietnam (+400%). Asian countries also led for other types of agricultural machinery and equipment with Vietnam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka as the top three. Monitoring new markets by FederUnacoma/Nomisma is extremely important for the manufacturing industries aiming to extend the reach of their activities. This drive is especially important for the Italian industries called on to diversity through commercial partnerships to offset the ongoing declines on the domestic market. Data based on Ministry of Transport figures and elaborated by FederUnacoma disclosed losses over the first nine months of the year coming to 0,8% for tractor registrations, to 5,8% for combine harvesters. Independent of the ups and downs in conditions internationally, the Italian market trend over the past ten years has been in ongoing decline. Prospects for the close of 2016 are tractor sales at 18,000 units, sinking to the lowest level since the post-war period.

Analysts affirm that the deep crisis conditions of the domestic market are the result of falling agriculture earnings coupled with weak farm production infrastructure due to small  farming practices denying economies of scale, climate change causing causing rainy spells and weather conditions incompatible with crop requirements. While awaiting a complete and long term plan which might spark a new positive cycle for mechanization, the nation’s industry is looking carefully at the increasing opportunities offered by foreign markets where agricultural technologies are on the increase and where public incentive policies for the acquisition of new generation technologies are often implemented.  


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