Construction machinery exports close out 2008 with a 20% gain

U.S. construction equipment exports totaled more than $20.7 billion for 2008, which translates into a 20 percent gain over the previous year, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). South America and Asia were among the market leaders for purchases of American-made construction machinery.

The AEM trade group consolidates U.S. Commerce Department data for off-road equipment with other sources into quarterly export trend reports.

“Global trade, especially to emerging markets, was a mainstay of our resurgence in recent years,” said AEM Senior Vice President Al Cervero. “Obviously, the situation is much different today. Our industry sector, as with the manufacturing community overall, has been devastated by the abrupt downturn in 2008. These export results were helped by trading terms such as letters of credit, which kept goods in the delivery pipeline.”

Export sales to South America grew 44 percent in 2008 for a total of $3.3 billion compared with 2007. Asia took delivery of $3 billion worth of U.S. construction equipment, an increase of 25 percent, and exports to Central America grew 19 percent in 2008, for a total of $2 billion.

Export business to Europe gained 11 percent with purchases of $3 billion in 2008, and construction machinery exports to Canada increased 13 percent for a total of $6.2 billion.

Africa recorded purchases of $1.4 billion worth of U.S. construction equipment, an increase of 29 percent. Exports to Australia/Oceania grew 14 percent, to $1.8 billion.

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