The East European market will grow by over 6 per cent in 2016 and by almost 5 per cent in 2017, according to a Clear International analysis. But there have been considerable changes. The figure for 2016 is considerably lower than was anticipated at the beginning of the year and the difference is mostly attributable to developments in Turkey. Political instability had already undermined business confidence in early 2016 and then in mid-year there was an attempted military coup. This has had a dire and worsening effect on business investment resulting in 10,000 trailers being wiped from the forecast.
The analysis notes that it is worth considering that in 2015 Turkey was the largest trailer market in the East: “That position will be taken up by Poland in the current year with Russia coming a somewhat distant third due to the continuing recession there. Although Turkey may make a quite rapid recovery it may be the 2020s before Russia does the same.
“Even though the outlook for Russia has worsened, 2015 was the nadir for the market and demand will grow in all years but one to 2020. The Ukraine and Belarus will follow the same pattern. In fact the growth forecast for the trailer market next year is partially dependent on a rebound in both Russia and The Ukraine.”
“The East European trade in goods reached an all-time high at the end of 2013, but the growth was choked off in the second half of 2014, again as a result of the situation in Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus. The trade situation has worsened in 2016 for both exports and imports.
“The economic forecast for Eastern Europe is for stronger GDP and investment growth in 2017, which will result in recovering levels of trade and more demand for road transport. However, a cyclical slowdown affecting the whole region will lead to a fall in trailer demand in 2018 before growth resumes.”
Gary Beecroft, managing director of CLEAR commented: “Political instability and military conflict has resulted in the Eastern Europe being stuck at roughly the same level of trailer demand since 2011. A cyclical economic slowdown, most likely occurring in 2018, means that it may well be 2020 before we see the market move ahead decisively.”