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Caterpillar machinery sales rises by 35 per cent

Caterpillar saw global retail sales of its construction machinery jump by 35 per cent in the three months to the end of July, though the pace of growth weakened in most regions

July was the 15th-straight three-month period of sales expansion for Caterpillar but the gains were lower than the dealer-reported sales of the previous two reporting periods to the end of June and May, with sales climbing by 45 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively

The sharpest slowdown through the end of July was in North America, where the pace of expansion almost halved to 27 per cent, compared with a 50 per cent increase in June and a 54 per cent increase in May.

The slower growth in Caterpillar's largest market for sales provided another sign that the company faces a tougher business environment in the coming months as the bounce-back from the recession fades.

Sales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East rose 51 per cent in the July period, compared with a 53 per cent rise through June and a 60 per cent increase in May. This region had been Caterpillar's weakest coming out of the recession but has been outperforming other regions in recent months.

In the company's engine business, overall sales increased 19 per cent in the July period, following a 14 per cent increase in the June period and a 21 per cent increase in the May period.

Marine engines, which had been the weakest segment of the company's engine business, showed significant improvement in the July period, falling one per cent after being down 21 per cent in June and down 27 per cent in May.

Sales of engines for generating electric power continued to soften. July-period sales were up 12 per cent, compared with a 20 per cent increase in the previous period and a 45 per cent increase in the May period.