While farm equipment sales remain in the doldrums, U.S. and Canadian dealers’ sentiments about business conditions improved slightly according to the results of Ag Equipment Intelligence’s most recent Dealer Sentiments & Business Conditions Update survey. Here’s what dealers are reporting about current business conditions for ag machinery.
Sales: Average dealer sales were reported down 12% in February, slightly better than the 13% decline reported in January. A net 22% of dealers missed their sales budget in February, making for the 23rd consecutive month of net budget misses. A net 40% of dealers reported a sales decline in the month vs. a net 50% citing a decline in January. Commercial and consumer lawn equipment sales continue to show strength, while large equipment demand remains very weak.
Outlook: The full year 2016 dealer average sales growth forecast was reported at down 10%, an improvement from the down 11% forecast in January with a net 42% of dealers forecasting a sales decline for the year vs. a net 54% forecasting a decline last month.
Inventory: A net 42% of dealers reported new equipment inventories as “too high,” an improvement from the net 60% in January. Used inventory levels were in line with January, as a net 40% of dealers reported inventory as “too high.” Used combine inventory has worsened in the past several months after improving throughout 2015.
Pricing: Dealers reported relatively flat new equipment pricing following a slight uptick in the fourth quarter (~0.5-1%) as Tier 4 sales and OEM price increases have been offset by greater discounting at the dealer level. Used large tractor pricing is reported down 7% year-over-year on average, a slight improvement from the 8% decline reported in January. Small tractor pricing was about flat for the month. Used combine prices were reported down 14%, a slight decline from the 12% decline reported in January.