1st Quarter 2020
Mining equipment shipments declined during Q1 2020 but at a slower rate than recorded during the second half of last year. Although these deliveries were made in the face of the ongoing virus pandemic, it is unclear how significant the global health crisis and accompanying economic contraction was on shipments that were underway when the mining industry began coping with the virus spread during the first months of 2020. This impact will undoubtedly become more substantial during Q2 and the balance of the year. Furthermore, industry capex and ordering of large new production equipment began a significant contraction during the middle of 2019 with the factors driving this current down cycle only exacerbated by the mining sector’s response.
Units delivered declined by 7.5% vs. Q4 2019 while the estimated value of these deliveries was less than 1% below that of the previous quarter. After reaching a plateau 9 to 18 months ago, shipments have retraced approximately half of the gains recorded during the 2016-2019 expansion cycle. While further declines can be expected, they might not be as severe as other measures of mining sector and general business activity that is widely expected as the world copes with the pandemic’s economic impact.
The decline in Q1 deliveries was uneven across product lines with mining trucks declining while shipments of hydraulic shovels increased, wheel loaders and electric/cable shovels were unchanged and dozers declined modestly. Average size of those truck shipments increased. As in the past, all these shipment numbers are subject to minor additions and adjustments as manufacturers’ refine their initial accounting (these have been insignificant in recent reporting). And quarter-to-quarter changes by product, geographic and mineral sectors may not represent longer-term market shifts.