Steel Products Prices North America

Caterpillar Machine Sales Off to Weak Start in Q1

Written by Sandy Williams

Caterpillar Inc. reported weakened sales for February in its rolling three month period that compares current sales with those of the same period one year ago. Machine retail sales were down 13 percent in February further slipping from 4 percent in January. February sales last year were up by 21 percent over the same period in 2011.

North American sales were down 11 percent in January and 12 percent in February following a year when increases in sales were the rule. Asia/Pacific sales dropped 26 percent after two months of milder decreases of 7 percent in December and 12 percent in January. Europe/Africa/Middle East (EAME) sales were down by 9 percent after a positive, yet slowing, trend from +4 percent in December to +1 percent in January. Latin America was up 14 percent in December and slowed to a 3 percent increase year-over-year in both February and January.

Engine sales over all were down 7 percent in February—the same as January after a drop to 2 percent in December. Industrial power systems have been on a slowing trend throughout 2012 and were down 25 percent in February and 24 percent in January on a year-over-year basis. Industrial continued a year-over-year downward trend dropping by 26 percent in February. After a positive, yet softening, trend in 2012, petroleum power system sales were down 8 percent from February of last year. Transportation power systems were the only engine sales to show growth, up 15 percent following a three month downward trend.

SMU follows machine sales as an indicator of steel demand. A typical Caterpillar Track-Type Tractor has a total weight of 148 tons. Of that weight, 132 tons is made of steel—that is 90 percent of its composition.

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