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Continued: Caterpillar 2Q profit drops 43 percent as dealers cut equipment inventories; outlook trimmed

  • Article by: TOM KRISHER , AP Business Writer
  • Last update: July 24, 2013 - 2:20 PM

A 9 percent drop in Caterpillar's construction revenue came despite the improvements in the U.S. housing market. But North America is less than half of Caterpillar's construction revenue.

"Construction for us in the U.S. is a little better than what it was, but remember, we're global," DeWalt said. "Europe is not doing too well at all."

Half of the countries that euro are now in recession and unemployment is soaring.

DeWalt also noted that even in the U.S., housing starts are less than half of what they were during the peak in the mid-2000s. And the recovery has been much weaker for non-residential buildings such as warehouses and retail space.

Commodity prices have fallen due to economic turmoil in Europe and slowing growth in China, forcing miners to become more conservative with spending.

Prices for copper, aluminum, and gold have all fallen sharply this year.

A new Citi survey of spending plans by mining and construction companies found a 16 percent decline expected spending on mining equipment this year compared with 2012. The weakness is notable across all types of equipment and all types of commodities, Citi wrote.

Mining companies are turning away from growth and re-focusing on costs and returns. "We believe the consequence will likely be a multi-year decline in capital spending," the Citi report said.

Meanwhile Citi's survey also shows a continuing decline in expected construction spending — down 8.1 percent over the next 12 months. Pricing is expected to decline by 3 percent.

Caterpillar said Tuesday that global sales of its heavy equipment fell 8 percent for the three-month period that ended in June, hurt by a steep drop in demand from Asia.

That followed a 7 percent decrease for the three months that ended in May and a 9 percent slide for the three months that ended in April, the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Sales in Caterpillar's Asia region dropped 21 percent in the most recent period, while North American sales fell 10 percent.

The only region to post an increase was Latin America, where sales rose 9 percent.

The figures are based on unit sales as reported by Caterpillar's dealers.

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