What's Happening in Construction: September Edition

Industry Insights Commenti

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Chinese Contractors Dominate Global Rankings

Chinese contractors took the top 3 spots in the 2012 International Construction world’s 200 largest construction company rankings. China State Construction Engineering Corporation claimed the top spot, overtaking the country’s two largest railway contractors.

With two other Chinese contractors also ranked in the top 10, the country claimed half the top spots. The only US showing among the top 10 contractors was Bechtel.

Total revenues for the top 200 contractors came in at US $1.48 trillion, a 13% increase from the previous year. Profitability, however, was down -0.1% from the previous year to 4.6%.

Nearly a quarter of the top 200 contractors this year came from the developing world, a record number. Revenues from developing nations topped US $460 billion, or 31% of the total.1

US Construction Spending and Housing Starts Rise

New home construction in the US hit its fastest pace since 2008 in June with a 6.9% rise to 760,000 units. Making up the gain were 539,000 single-family housing starts and 221,000 multi-family starts.

The gain in housing starts was seen predominantly in the US Northeast and West while starts in the Midwest and South actually registered small declines.

The overall value of US construction continues to expand with spending in June 5.3% higher than a year ago at US $800 billion. The gain is being driven by increases in private construction which offset a public spending decline.2

US Fleet Failures Hit Lowest Level in 25 years

 used truck sales and residual values remained steady throughout the quarter

Transport topics reported that trucking bankruptcies reached their lowest level in at least 25 years during Q2 2012.

Freight demand and pricing have remained strong enough to sustain virtually every fleet, with just 70 carriers (a total of 725 trucks) failing during the quarter – well below last year’s Q2 total of 240 carriers.3

The largest truck dealer in North America, Rush Enterprises, observed that used truck sales and residual values remained steady throughout the quarter and expects current levels to sustain through 2012.

The same dealer, Rush Enterprises, expects fleet decision makers will exercise caution in making new truck replacement purchases through 2012 but expects uncertainty to subside.4

North America Highlights

  1. US public construction spending dropped -3.3% in June to US $274 billion2
  2. US spending for highways and streets rose 5.2% in June2
  3. Farm lending in the US rose on strong capital spending in the first half of 20125
  4. US new building permits fell -3.7% to a SAAR of 755,000 units in June2
  5. Investment in nonresidential building construction rose 7 Canadian provinces in June6
  6. Canadian nonresidential building construction increased 1.8% to CAD $11.2 billion in the second quarter6

Europe Highlights

  1. Construction output in Europe down in May for the 5th consecutive month7
  2. Spain (-24.8%), Slovenia (-23.7%), and Portugal (-16.4%) registered the largest y-o-y decreases in construction output7
  3. Romania (+21.1%), Poland (+6.5%), and Germany (+2.2%) registered the largest y-o-y gains in construction output7

Latin America Highlights

  1. US $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion work 41% complete at the end of June8

Sources:

  1. http://www.khl.com/magazines/international-construction/detail/item76550/
  2. Stark’s Truck & Off-Highway Ledger, August 6, 2012
  3. http://www.monitordaily.com/fleet-failures-hit-lowest-level-25-years/
  4. http://www.monitordaily.com/largest-truck-dealer-foresees-cautious-fleet-owners-h212/
  5. http://www.monitordaily.com/farm-lending-rises-strong-capital-spending/
  6. http://www.aednet.org/aednews/index_full_story.cfm?id=10928621
  7. http://www.khl.com/magazines/international-rental-news/detail/item77240/
  8. http://www.khl.com/magazines/international-construction/detail/item77297/
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