East European trailer market up 5.1% in 2016

The East European market grew by over 5.1 per cent in 2016 and further growth is forecast for 2017, according to Clear International. The figure for 2016 is considerably lower than was anticipated at the beginning of the year and the difference is almost entirely 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 had a dire and worsening effect on business investment resulting in 19,000 trailers being wiped from the Turkish forecast.

It is worth noting that in 2015 Turkey was the largest trailer market in the East. That position will be taken up by Poland in 2016 and 2017 with Russia coming a somewhat distant third due to the continuing economic difficulties there. Although Turkey may make a quite rapid recovery it could be the 2020s before Russia does the same.

In 2016 both Russia and the Ukraine recorded an increase in trailer demand for the first time since 2011, and they will be the only countries in the region to record a substantial percentage increase in 2017.

Investment fell in 12 out of 15 countries by, on average, 6.7 per cent in 2016. Those countries in the EU were affected by a five year EU funding period coming to an end in 2016 before the new period came into effect.

In Turkey there will be a referendum on 16 April 2017 to decide whether President Erdogan is to be granted additional powers. Uncertainty over the outcome has badly affected trailer demand in the first quarter of 2017.

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: “Despite difficulties in the region, particularly affecting Russia and Turkey, we will see growth in trailer demand in four of the next five years. This will result in trailer sales returning to the pre-GFC level of 2008 by the end of the forecast period.”


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