The Philippine forklift industry expects 2003 to be a better year than 2002, which distributors said was the worst year ever.
However, several forklift dealers told Forkliftaction.com that the continuing depreciation of the foreign exchange rate and the impending war in Iraq could adversely affect the economy. The Philippine peso has fallen to 53.70 pesos to the USD from 50 pesos last year.
Ronald Roa, account executive at Monark Equipment Corporation, which distributes Mitsubishi and Caterpillar forklifts, said another industry concern was an influx of used forklifts from Japan.
The second-hand forklifts, referred to as "surplus" units, were priced way below the prevailing market price for new machines, selling for as low as 100,000 pesos (USD1800), compared to new machines selling for 800,000 pesos (USD14,800), Mr Roa said.
Despite the challenges, Mr Roa was confident Monark would increase its forklift sales this year.