ACT Research has provided some updated data on the impact of the Coronavirus on the commercial vehicle market and the U.S. economy as a whole.
“The global spread of the COVID-19 required a foundational reassessment of near-term economic expectations, and by extension North American commercial vehicle demand,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.
“Although not official yet, we believe that the U.S. economy entered a recessionary phase starting in March, and with much still unknown about the virus’ effect and the path that recovery could take, assessments remain fluid. ACT continues to evaluate our baseline scenarios for North America, but our current modeling indicates significant economic weakness though Q2 and into Q3, with CV market demand following.”
Vieth noted that we can learn about the next steps in the U.S. based on what is happening in China now, since China is on a later stage of the curve of this virus.
“China is only now starting to return to work,” he said, “and, while they weren’t working, the Chinese weren’t spending either. As the planet’s largest consumer of commodities, China’s downturn is hitting commodity prices across the board. On top of the demand-side weakness that continues to unfold, the front-and-center impact from a freight perspective at present is on the supply side: Domestic port and rail volumes have just begun to reflect the drop in Chinese output.”
Asked about any “silver linings,” Vieth replied, “We anticipate considerable pent-up demand for inventory restocking and sales of parts and unfinished goods that are now in a drying-up phase.”