May 30, 2012 / 9:56 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-European heavy truck market drops 6.7 pct in April

* Data shows contagion spreading from periphery to core

* New truck registrations plunge in Italy, Netherlands

* Demand for transporters and vans also drops sharply

FRANKFURT, May 30 (Reuters) - The market for new heavy trucks in Europe declined 6.7 percent in April as demand in both core and periphery euro zone countries plunged sharply versus the year earlier, data published on Wednesday showed.

The decline to 19,458 vehicles, reported by Brussels-based industry body ACEA, represented the third straight monthly decline and the second-worst so far this year.

Spain and Italy, two of the biggest markets, saw demand drop by 13.6 percent and 41.1 percent, respectively.

“Anyone can see that the figures for Southern Europe fell through the roof. It’s a no brainer,” said one European truckmaker, declining to be named.

Just as interest rate spreads have widened in core countries, though, contagion has spread from truck markets in the south like Italy to northern Europe.

Truck demand in France sank 6.8 percent while new registrations dropped 38.7 percent in the Netherlands.

Germany, the biggest and healthiest economy in the euro zone, managed to eke out slight growth, while non-euro zone member the United Kingdom posted a healthy 12 percent gain.

Commercial vehicle makers like Daimler, Volvo , MAN SE and Iveco depend on demand from logistics and delivery companies like Kuehne & Nagel or FedEx.

ACEA also reported that registrations of new light commercial vehicles (LCVs), mainly delivery vans used by craftsmen and small businesses, fell an even sharper 12.7 percent last month to 115,764 vehicles.

Both heavy trucks and LCVs are capital goods whose sales are highly cyclical and typically reflect the flow of trade in goods and services. Registrations closely mirror sales with a slight time lag.

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