Forklift manufacturers are more confident, says BITA

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BITA members are more confident about the general prospects for the next year, according to the latest Forklift Truck Market Outlook survey.

85 per cent of respondents said that general prospects for the next 12 months remained the same. None of the respondents said they felt less optimistic compared to half of those who said this in the association’s 2016 autumn survey.

15 per cent of those surveyed said that they felt that prospects had improved.

However, compared to the equivalent report last year in May 2016, levels of optimism are not as high.

The survey also found that:

  • Attitudes to sales have also improved, with 85 per cent of respondents saying they expected sales to either ‘rise modestly’ or ‘rise significantly’.
  • Views on orders have also remained positive with 70 per cent expressing that their order books are ‘modestly better than normal.’
  • Concerns around pricing have eased, although the expectation continues to be that prices will rise, driven by the devaluation of sterling. Only 30 per cent now hold the opinion that prices will ‘rise significantly’ in the coming 12 months, compared to 66 per cent who thought this previously. Prices are expected to ‘rise modestly’ by 70 per cent of respondents.
  • Counterbalance orders have recovered a little after major falls registered last year, growing 3.6 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2017. However it is not anticipated this will continue as investment – crucial to the performance of the Counterbalance market – struggles.

“The previous Forklift Truck Market Outlook and members’ survey showed our members’ mood moderating as Brexit uncertainty continues – and forecast overall weaker economic sentiment as the industry digested the referendum,” said James Clark, secretary-general, BITA. “However this latest Outlook and survey has demonstrated a degree of confidence among our members, with none saying they felt less optimistic for the coming 12 months.

“This coupled with an improved attitude to sales makes for quite an optimistic picture overall. But we shouldn’t be complacent, there is still the great unknown of Brexit to come – and there are issues around investment which are affecting Counterbalance orders which are a potential cause for concern.”

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