Caterpillar Machine Sales Continue Decline, Led by Latin America

  • World sales fell 17% in 3-month period, Latin America down 35%
  • One bright spot is Asia, where sales up first time since 2012

Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, reported for the 45th consecutive month that rolling global retail machine sales fell, led by declines in Latin America.

Total machine sales reported by dealers fell 17 percent in the three months through August from a year earlier, which compares with a 19 percent drop in the quarter through July, the Peoria, Illinois-based company said Wednesday in a filing.

Caterpillar sales are declining as miners scale back spending amid sluggish commodity demand and slower growth in global markets. Retail machine sales reported Wednesday fell in every region except Asia-Pacific, where they increased 2 percent in the August period, the first positive reading since November 2012. Sales there were down 7 percent in July.

Sales at Latin America dropped 35 percent in the August period after plunging 43 percent in July, while sales in North America were down 21 percent in August. Sales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East fell 12 percent in August.

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-largest mining company, is becoming more optimistic on the outlook for commodities demand in China after recent data pointed to a pickup in the construction market.

“The drop that we had experienced for the last two or three years in China seems to have plateaued,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York on Monday.

Caterpillar rose 1 percent to $82.53 at 10:53 a.m. in New York, compared with a 0.4 percent increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Cat’s shares have climbed 22 percent this year.

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