UK exports of plant equipment reach highest level since 2015

UK exports of construction and earthmoving equipment has reached its highest level since 2015, according to the latest report from the Construction Equipment Association (CEA).

UK exports for Q1 2017 reached £700 million, the highest level since April/June quarter 2015. The report has attributed this growth to an improving demand in some of the “major overseas markets” along with the benefit of the weaker pound following the Brexit referendum.

There was a 6.1% increase in weight terms (tonnage of machines) in comparison to Q4 2016 and a 13.2% increase in value terms. The top destination for exports remained the USA, accounting for 19% of total exports on a weight basis and 23% on a value basis. Exports to European counties collectively accounted for 48% of total weight of machines exported in Q1 and 44% in value terms.

The report states that UK remains a net exporter of construction and earthmoving equipment in both weight and value terms. The trade surplus reduced to £312 million in Q1 from £340 million in Q4 2016. However, it is still the highest quarterly surplus since Q4 2015.

The report also showed an increase in imports of equipment in Q1 with a 34% increase on Q4 2016 in weight terms and 39.1% in value terms, reaching £388 million. Imports were up on the previous year’s first quarter figures in both cases.

Japan remained the highest single country source of imports in Q1, accounting for 21% of total imports of equipment in weight terms. With regard to value, Sweden was ahead of Japan as the largest single import source with 19% of total imports in Q1.