CAT sales latest sign of mining improvement

With sales and operations at the ends of the earth, few companies are in a better position to take the pulse of the global economy and the resource sector in particular than Caterpillar.

The world's number one heavy equipment manufacturer has been hit hard by the decline in mining and construction – sales are down more than $20 billion from its peak just four years ago after a drop of over $8 billion last year.

Things are still getting worse in 2016, but at least the rate of decline is slowing. Caterpillar's latest sales figures released today show an improvement in all markets.

CAT sales latest sign of mining improvement

The mining industry make up 19% of total sales for the Peoria, Illinois-based giant (quarrying and aggregates account for another 10%) and worldwide sales to the sector dropped 25% in March on a rolling 3-month average basis.

That's considerably better than the 42% decline registered in February.

Of course sales are still falling and have been for 40 months straight.

With the release of its full year earning in January Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman said the company hasn't seen any signs of improvement and was reluctant to predict a bottom for the industry.

Perhaps today's numbers may give some indication that the worst is behind us.