14 April 2000

Machinery exports fall

EXPORTS of agricultural machinery fell by 9.7% to £1454m in 1999, reports the Agricultural Engineers Association, and the export of tractors fell by 14.2% to £901m.

On the import front, the total increased by 27.4% to £801m leading to a balance of trade deterioration of 33.4% to £654m.

AEA economist, Chris Evans says that lower exports result from weaker markets for agricultural tractors and machinery but most especially from the effect of the strong £.

"Despite these problems the performance is very creditable," he says. "Many companies have managed to retain export volume but at the expense of lower profitability.

"Agricultural engineering – particularly in the tractor sector – has long been among the leading net export earners, but this position is under threat from the continuing high value of the £." &#42