ECONOMIC WATCH: Coronavirus affecting equipment demand

by Today's Trucking

ACT Research
Kenny Vieth

COLUMBUS, Ind. – ACT Research has trimmed its forecasts for commercial vehicle and trailer demand, due to a drop in economic activity related to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“Starting in the second half of February, Covid-19 (coronavirus) went from a China containment story to one of spiraling pandemic,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “And six weeks after shutting down for the Spring Festival, China is only now starting to return to work. While they weren’t working, the Chinese weren’t spending either, and as the planet’s largest consumer of commodities, China’s downturn is hitting commodity prices across the board.”

Vieth noted domestic port and rail volumes are just now reflecting the drop in Chinese output.

“Being a supplier of intermediate and finished goods, there are major implications for a number of freight-intensive economic sectors, and we are just on the cusp of feeling that pinch,” he said.

ACT reported the outbreak has “undermined expectations across the board in 2020,” related to commercial vehicle demand. However, Vieth said a return to trend is expected, beginning in 2022.

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