DEERFIELD — The sharp rebound Caterpillar Inc. experienced in 2017 after four years of decline is continuing worldwide in 2018, according to a retail sales report filed this week.
The three-month rolling retail sales report submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission this week tallied total machine sales through February up 33 percent worldwide from the same period last year, with total global energy and transportation sales up 21 percent.
Every business segment broken out by Caterpillar in the report was up in every region, with resource industries sales — which includes mining equipment — posting the greatest gains in North America with a 62 percent increase.
The Asia and Pacific region, which includes and is dominated by sales in China, continued to post significant sales increases for the company, with construction industries up 36 percent and resource industries up 60 percent.
"China has certainly been a very good market for us," Amy Campbell, the company's director of investor relations, said at the J.P. Morgan Industrials Conference on Wednesday, noting that demand in that region first began showing growth at the end of 2016. "Then it really started to blow the doors off and be really, really strong."
Excavator sales alone in China were up 100 percent in 2017, Campbell said.
The company is working to balance production with increasing demand, Campbell also noted — creating smaller volumes of low-demand machinery while concentrating the most on high-profit equipment and services, as delineated in the company's new enterprise strategy.
The retail sales figures are based on unaudited reports voluntarily provided by Caterpillar's network of independent dealers.
The company's stock dropped less than 1 percent on Wednesday to settle at $152.54 per share. The company's stock has followed many of the overall market's recent fluctuations, but remains significantly higher than record prices set in 2012 following the sales peak.
Matt Buedel can be reached at 686-3154 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JournoBuedel.