While most of the general keynote presentations at the International Economic Outlook Conference, sponsored by the National Fluid Power Association were decidedly optimistic, not all the market break-out sessions had the same positive vibe.
Although his forecast was not down, David Phillips of the London-based Off-Highway Research consulting firm, said over and over again that mobile machinery used in the construction market was uncertain, and “very difficult to forecast.”
Phillips said much of this uncertainty is due to the fact that different areas of the world will have completely different growth rates. For example, he said, he expects North America to grow over the next few years, while Europe will decline during the same time periods. One example, he said, is that not one excavator was sold in Spain in May 2013.
In many cases, global recovery will be slow and government help will be needed. “And I don’t like governments,” Phillips said.
European countries that will lead the market will include the U.K., France, and Germany, while Italy’s impact will be minor. Smaller markets, such as Sweden, Finland, Denmark, etc. “will come along nicely,” Phillips said.
And despite what he calls a corrupt government, India will grow erratically. For example, eight Indian manufacturers of crawler excavators have entered the market in the last five years.
And no matter what anyone says, “China will always be a major impact on the worldwide market,” Phillips said. “Even if everyone says the Chinese market is in recession, don’t believe it.”
China will continue to move away from wheel loader manufacturing and expand its excavator production, which offer greater profitability for manufacturers and users.