ACT: April sees softening of net truck orders

But research firm points out data used to predict demand remain "healthy"

According to ACT Research Co. LLC (ACT), net orders for North American Class 6-8 trucks for April were down from the month before. The final numbers, which will be released in mid-May, will approach 17,200 units for Class 8 trucks and 8,600 for Class 6-7 vehicles, reported ACT, which noted preliminary net order numbers are typically accurate to within 5% of actual.

 “Orders continued to come in below the level ultimately needed to sustain current rates of build,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president & senior analyst. “Conditions that contributed to the soft patch that started in March were still in play in April, including higher diesel and new truck prices.

“Beyond that,” he continued, “the data that we use to predict demand remain healthy. The overall economy-- and in particular the manufacturing sector-- continues to grow, trucker profits are healthy and used truck prices remain close to record levels.”

Indeed, the latestmanufacturing  Report On Businessreleased by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) indicates that “economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in April for the 33rd consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 35th consecutive month.”

“The PMI registered 54.8 %, an increase of 1.4 percentage points from March’s reading of 53.4%, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 33rd consecutive month,” said Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the ISMManufacturing Business Survey Committee.

He added that “16 of the 18 industries reflected overall growth in April, and the New Orders, Production and Employment Indexes all increased, indicating growth at faster rates than in March. The Prices Index for raw materials remained at 61%in April, the same rate as reported in March”

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