Macroeconomic and sector-specific conditions

Macroeconomic conditions

According to current estimates, global economic growth will remain at a low level throughout 2016. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently revised the growth forecasts that they had issued in the autumn visibly downwards.

Financial markets are a particular source of risk. The first quarter was characterised by growing uncertainty and strong price volatility. Emerging markets continue to be particularly at risk, with many adversely affected by low prices for oil, gas and other commodities in the global markets and by companies’ and households’ rising debt levels. In January and February, China experienced a significant slowdown in the growth of its industrial output and a sharp drop in exports.

The outlook for industrialised countries has also clouded over. Despite an uptrend in the job market, the latest growth figures for the United States were down again. The eurozone, which received a boost from the falling oil price and a weak euro in 2015, is likely to fall just short of the level of growth seen last year because oil prices are rising again and the single currency made moderate gains in the first quarter. Although Germany continues to benefit from increasing consumer spending, leading indicators point to a slowdown in the growth of industrial output, which has a strong export focus.

Sectoral conditions

Sales markets

The global market for industrial trucks grew in the first three months of 2016. The number of trucks sold advanced by 3.7 per cent. While there was a substantial rise in the number of trucks sold in Europe, the market in North and South America contracted and Asia experienced a slight increase.

All of the large western European markets – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – registered healthy increases. Growth in eastern Europe was also encouraging, with the marked downward trend in Russia coming to an end as the market there stabilised. In North America, overall orders were down slightly. The number of trucks sold in Brazil again fell sharply. The Chinese market returned to growth for the first time following decreases in the four previous quarters. This surge in demand was mainly driven by the tightening of emissions regulations.

In the market as a whole, demand for warehouse trucks remained particularly dynamic. There was also a sharp increase in demand for electric forklift trucks, whereas orders for IC trucks continued to decline. > TABLE 02

Global industrial truck market (order intake)




in thousand units

Q1 2016

Q1 2015


Source: WITS/FEM

Western Europe




Eastern Europe




North America




Central & South America




Asia (excl. Japan)




Rest of world








Procurement markets and conditions in the financial markets

Commodity prices continued to hover at a very low level in the first quarter of 2016. Although prices for steel, which is the most important raw material for the KION Group, and for copper rose slightly in the first three months, their average was still much lower than in the corresponding period of last year. Oil prices also achieved a small uptrend following speculation about a cap on output.

Overall, currency effects had a negative impact on exports in the first three months of 2016. The euro began to rise again against the Chinese renminbi and pound sterling in the first quarter. The Brazilian real remained weak and was unable to recover from the sharp price fall in 2015.