This month’s Agritechnica sees the European machinery industry come together at a time when things are looking less positive than they have for a while. Two year’s ago, the industry was clearly on an upswing, with opinion surveys showing a positive environment and an optimistic outlook. Machinery sales were on the up across most of Europe and export markets were also performing well.
Fast forward to 2019 and things are looking a lot less positive. Opinion the UK has taken a turn for the worse over recent months. AEA’s monthly barometer survey had been showing a largely positive picture through most of 2017 and 2018 and even into the spring of 2019. Since then, though, most of that positivity has evaporated. The majority of AEA members now see the market as neutral, with a significant minority saying it is unsatisfactory. While that doesn’t indicate things are all doom and gloom, most businesses are now predicting turnover will be lower in the coming months.
It would be easy to blame the downturn on all the Brexit uncertainty which we are facing in the UK and assume that everything is rosy elsewhere. However, the results of a similar Barometer survey run by the European machinery association CEMA show a similar story. Two years ago, it assessed both the current situation and, particularly, the future outlook as being clearly positive. Now, that has reversed, in just the same way as in the UK, with the majority of respondents seeing a slowdown now and anticipating even more of the same in the coming months. The downturn was fairly broad-based with almost all parts of the industry in negative territory, although manufacturers of livestock equipment were the most pessimistic.