Machinery Sales Continue Upward, Inventories Perceived to Tighten

August AEM 2018 data show positive sales for every category reported. ( AEM )

For three months in a row, new machinery sales have maintained above 2017 year-to-date levels. Also with its August sales report, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) reports all machinery categories reported are up August 2018 compared with the same month in 2017.

Comparing August 2018 to August 2017:

  • Combine sales were up 23.4%
  • Four-wheel-drive tractor sales were up 16.7%
  • Total two-wheel-drive tractor sales were up 14.4%

For the past six months, total machinery sales have trended above the five-year-average according to AEM. Here is link to the full report online.

“While we’re pleased with these positive numbers, we still face concerns. For example, we have a potential rewrite of NAFTA added to steel and aluminum tariffs, and the USDA recently predicted a double-digit decline in net farm income,” said Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president of ag services said in a press release. “We’re continuing to push for trade action that does not harm farmers or equipment manufacturers as well as a timely passage of a farm bill to help bring some certainty to the marketplace.”

The tariffs are already affecting both new and used equipment sales according to another survey.

As another indicator of machinery supply and demand, AEM and the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) have been surveying their respective memberships to see how their perceptions of dealer inventories—new and used--compare. The 2018 survey (conducted this past summer) was the third year for this data.

The associations both report the evolving trade issues and tariffs will impact business for manufacturers and dealers.

“Overall we are looking at favorable numbers in 2018,” Blades with AEM said in a news release. “Surveys of our membership show a good majority feel the market has been strong this year, but we could see changes in next year’s survey. A lot will depend on the lingering uncertainty of tariffs and trade and the potential impacts on current positive market performance.”

Joe Dykes, vice president of industry relations, for EDA, agrees.

“We’ve heard from our dealers that tariffs have already begun to impact their businesses,” Dykes said in a news release. “We have dealers who have been forced to place advanced orders for equipment to avoid tariffs, and those who have already been told by their customers that they will delay or cancel purchase decisions due to higher prices. “