Caterpillar Inc. said Friday that its worldwide machine sales leaped 37 percent in August, led by surging sales in Latin and North America.
The results, announced in a regulatory filing, highlight a shift in the world's appetite for construction and mining equipment. Though the sales growth rate slowed in Asia, it surged in Latin America and picked up slightly in the United States and Canada.
Sales in Latin America jumped 57 percent in August over the same month a year ago. That's a much faster uptick over the same month in 2009 than the company showed earlier in the summer. Latin American sales rose 32 percent in July from a year earlier, and 18 percent in June from the same month last year.
North American sales rose 40 percent in August. That's slightly improved from the 38 percent growth rate in July and 26 percent rate in June.
Sales in Asia rose 32 percent last month. That's down from July, when the region's sales jumped 41 percent. In June, sales were up 36 percent from a year earlier.
Equipment sales overall in August also picked up from the two prior months. Sales rose 37 percent compared with 32 percent in July and 22 percent in June.
Meanwhile, sales of reciprocating and turbine engines were up 5 percent last month, matching their growth rate in July. Marine engine sales lost more ground, falling 40 percent in August from a year earlier. Caterpillar's three other engine segments grew from a year earlier. Of the segments that gained, only sales of engines in the electric power segment slowed from July.
Caterpillar, which is based in Peoria, Ill., is the world's largest marker of construction and mining equipment. Because Caterpillar's iconic yellow-and-black equipment is used in many sectors around the world, the company's sales are considered a strong indicator of global economic health.
Caterpillar shares rose 30 cents to $72.30 in morning trading.
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