Finweek English Edition - - Economic Trends & Analysis - JO­HANN VAN ZYL jo­hannv@fin­

IT WAS ONLY a ques­tion of time be­fore the fee­ble econ­omy also hit the SA trac­tor sec­tor, which recorded bet­ter sales in 2008 than in 2007.

Even though the year didn’t be­gin too badly, with sales fig­ures for the first three months com­par­ing well with last year’s, fig­ures col­lapsed shock­ingly in April. Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tion Saama, only 304 trac­tors were sold through­out the coun­try, 54,5% down on last April’s 668 units. That re­stricted to­tal sales for the first four months to 2 061 units, 18,5% lower than the 2 528 of the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod in 2008.

Saama chair­man Leon Pre­to­rius at­tributes the poor sales to a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors and not only the poor econ­omy. “First, April was a poor busi­ness month, be­cause of all the pub­lic hol­i­days, and, sec­ond, farm­ers may have de­cided to hold fire un­til they saw what was hap­pen­ing with their crops, the econ­omy and crop prices. Some farm­ers prob­a­bly post­poned their buy­ing de­ci­sions un­til they had more clar­ity.”

How­ever, the SA agri­cul­tural in­dus­try is pre­par­ing it­self for an ex­cel­lent har­vest, as can be de­duced from sales of com­bine har­vesters.

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