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News

ACT Research shows trucking market index ticking higher in July

 ( Photo: Shutterstock )
( Photo: Shutterstock )

Truck market index still in healthy range as market tightness lessens.

The trucking market is seeing a better supply-demand balance than last month as ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index rose for the fourth straight month.

The index reached seasonally-adjusted level of 58.0 in July, up from a 54.0 reading in June. 
Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president, says the demand side showed better freight volumes and rates in July than in June. But capacity also picked up, “keeping the July supply/demand balance less tight than the 2017/2018 average.

”’We see a gradual balancing taking place as the industry responds to strong demand,” said 

ACT said it also polled truck operators about load turndowns, and whether they are seeing more, less or the same number. Denoyer said the results were split with the ‘same’ category showing a slight advantage. But one respondent says it’s been hard to measure since it has consistently been turning down loads “for nearly a year now.”

 

The July fleet purchase intentions reading indicated an uptick in equipment demand, with 62% of respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months. ACT Research believes the increase is related to the record order cycle of the past year starting to be built in greater numbers. Over the past 12 months, the buying index has averaged a strong 58% reading, on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

In separate research, ACT reported on a stable to strong used truck market, much like JD Power did in its most recent look at the secondhand market.

According to ACT, the average price of all used class 8 trucks sold in July was “virtually flat,” or more specifically, it was down 1% compared to June. The price was “better” than July 2017, but specifics were not disclosed.

Steve Tam, vice president of ACT, said in the company’s prepared statement that “(d)ealers are having a hard time finding used trucks to sell.” Despite that, sales of same dealer used class 8 vehicles was up 12% from July 2017. But those numbers were down 7% compared to June. 

The tight supply, according to Tam, is helping to keep prices higher. “The strong market has also been a boon to finance companies actively looking to finance used trucks,” Tam said.

In its most recent report, JD Power echoed ACT by describing the volume of used vehicles coming into the market as “very slow.”

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