According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Report, economic reports over the past month have more often risen above consensus than fallen below it, but it is premature to declare an end to freight market weakness.
“Data points indicating increased economic activity represent the essential first steps in the process of increasing demand to rebalance the heavy freight markets. However, as in any commodity market, it is not just demand, but supply, and until the supply-side of the market is addressed, the disequilibrium story will continue to weigh on freight rates and by extension the heavy vehicle industry,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. He explained, “While the data are starting to suggest ‘less bad,’ reports suggesting recovery are premature, as key freight metrics continues to trend negative in the latest round of data releases.”
Speaking about the Class 8 market, Vieth said, “In concert with weak/deteriorating freight volumes and rates, forward-looking demand indicators continue to erode, even as mid and downstream data points remain robust. Ultimately, the current situation of weak orders and strong build is unsustainable.”
Regarding the medium duty markets, he commented, “Medium duty demand metrics remain in better balance, but there are signs of modest fraying on weak net orders, relative build strength and excessive inventories.”
ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics and appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.