The East European trailer market grew by over 5.1% in 2016 and further growth is forecast for 2017, according to consulting group CLEAR International.
The economic forecast for Eastern Europe is for stronger GDP and investment growth in 2017, which will result in recovering levels of trade and more demand for road transport. However, a cyclical slowdown affecting the whole region will lead to a fall in trailer demand in 2018 before growth resumes.
Gary Beecroft, managing director of CLEAR commented, “Despite difficulties in the region, particularly affecting Russia and Turkey, we will see growth in trailer demand in four of the next five years. This will result in trailer sales returning to the pre-GFC level of 2008 by the end of the forecast period.”
The figure for 2016 is considerably lower than was anticipated at the beginning of the year and the difference is almost entirely attributable to developments in Turkey. Political instability had already undermined business confidence in early 2016 and then in mid year, there was an attempted military coup. This had a dire and worsening effect on business investment, resulting in 19,000 trailers being wiped from the Turkish forecast.
It is worth noting that in 2015 Turkey was the largest trailer market in the East. That position will be taken up by Poland in 2016 and 2017, with Russia coming a somewhat distant third due to the continuing economic difficulties there. Although Turkey may make a quite rapid recovery it could be the 2020s before Russia does the same.
In 2016, both Russia and the Ukraine recorded an increase in trailer demand for the first time since 2011, and they will be the only countries in the region to record a substantial percentage increase in 2017.
Investment fell in twelve out of fifteen countries by, on average, 6.7% in 2016. Those countries in the EU were affected by a five year EU funding period coming to an end in 2016 before the new period came into effect.