Earthmoving and mining equipment sales edged upwards this year, giving suppliers reason to be cautiously optimistic going in to 2018.

Lawrence Peters, chairman, Construction and Mining Equipment Suppliers’ Association (CONMESA) said that provided the country experiences ongoing political and currency stability, the outlook would remain positive for the year ahead.

He said the political landscape combined with a recovery in certain commodities such as coal, could just be the medicine the industry needed to recover beyond the highs of 2013 levels.

“A number of factors, however, continue to weigh on sales with low commodity prices, as well as political uncertainty and a volatile currency hampering our economy in terms of production and investment. As a result, large-scale construction, mining, government and municipal infrastructure projects are being stalled and this still weighs heavily on equipment sales.

“While sales in general are suppressed, there are pockets of high-activity in certain regions due to local infrastructure programmes attracting investment, as well as certain mining and agricultural sectors which have become resurgent,” he said.

Peters explained that figures for the first three quarters of 2017 averaged over 1450 units per quarter. He welcomed the improvements of the 1180 units per quarter averaged from the previous year.

“We are hopeful that these are the leading indicators for an industry wide upturn and based on this upward trend are looking forward to a better year in 2018,” Lawrence concludes.