The general Business Climate Index for the Agricultural Machinery Industry in Europe has continued to improve, and thus has completely reached the pre-COVID-19 level, which however was already negative. Now, in August 2020, the index is at –6 points (on a scale of –100 to +100).
While the improvement in the first months after the COVID-19 shock was mainly due to less negative future expectations, as of July the evaluation of the current business environment has also improved significantly. Meanwhile, the index on the current business has even returned to a positive score (for the first time since autumn 2019) and is thus outperforming the expectations for the coming 6 months. This discrepancy between current business and future expectations is most pronounced in the areas of harvesting, livestock and transportation (the expectations are flat for livestock, but still quite negative for harvesting equipment).
Altogether, the survey solidifies the impression that the drivers for the overall positive trend can rather be found in the European market. Last month, both turnover and incoming orders from the EU market were back at the previous year's level, while those from outside the EU were still lower. Further impetus seems to come again from Germany, Italy, Poland and Scandinavia. Accordingly, the volume of orders of the Industry in Europe is still corresponding to a production period of 2.7 months (lower than in the years 18-19, but still an average value).