ALTHOUGH the worldwide outlook for agricultural machinery markets in 2014 remains positive overall, manufacturers foresee challenges to maintaining the high production levels of 2013, according to the latest business barometer survey from the Agrievolution Alliance.
The alliance's economic committee conducts the survey biannually, releasing results in May and November. Senior-level agricultural equipment manufacturing representatives relay the current business situation and outlook for their respective markets.
Only 18% of the survey respondents said they were not satisfied with the current business situation; however, less than 50% expect further growth in the next six months.
Representatives of companies in Western Europe and Japan expressed the most caution. According to the alliance, a trend toward an economic downturn seems to have started for European manufacturers of agricultural machinery as major home markets are declining, especially in the eastern part of the continent.
In North America, the industry business climate remained positive, based on high sales in the first months of 2014. A majority of business owners and managers foresee more revenue growth in the months ahead, despite the fact that sales figures in the U.S. market declined recently.
In South America, manufacturers are relying on the good economic basis of their customers and expect a further expansion of investment in equipment in order to cultivate additional areas.
The trend for increasing mechanization of agriculture in China and India persists, leading manufacturers in those markets to expect that demand for new equipment will be higher in 2014 compared to last year. However, some survey respondents reported that their order intake levels had declined over the past three months.
In general, the agricultural machinery market perspective remains positive on a global level. The alliance's economic committee said it expects a slight decline in the global market, but only to a minor extent.