Caterpillar sales continue to drop

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), the biggest maker of construction and mining equipment, reported a steepening decline in retail machine sales in Asia as miners continue to reduce spending.

Sales in the Asia-Pacific region fell 30 percent in the three months through May compared with the same period a year earlier, the Peoria, Illinois-based company said today in a filing. Sales slid 25 percent in the three months through April.

Caterpillar’s global sales fell 12 percent in three months through May, after falling 13 percent in the period through April.

There was also bad news for construction machinery in Caterpillar’s latest sales report. Asia-Pacific sales were down 8 percent, compared with the 2 percent increase in the three months through April. Construction sales slowed in Latin America and were flat in North America. In Africa, Europe and the Middle East they fell at a slower pace.

Mining companies have slashed spending in the face of lower commodity prices. Caterpillar said in April that large mining- truck sales in the first quarter were down about 80 percent from their 2012 peak. The company has fired workers and shut mines after sales and earnings dropped last year, the first time they’ve declined since 2009.

For Caterpillar’s resource industries segment, the company said today that sales fell 69 percent in the Asia-Pacific region and 47 percent in Africa, Europe and the Middle East in the most recent period. Sales dropped 62 percent in Latin America and were up 7 percent in North America.

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