Global retail sales of machines at Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), the world's biggest construction equipment maker, fell by 8 percent in the three months ending in January, according to a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday.

The data "shows the beginning of a broader recovery in construction sales across the regions while mining remains severely challenged from a new equipment standpoint," said William Blair & Co. analyst Lawrence De Maria. 

CAT Machine Sales Caterpillar Inc. saw an 8% decrease in global retail machine sales in the three months before January Photo: Morgan Stanley

Caterpillar's report is a modest improvement from the 9 percent drop for the three months ending in December.

“By geography, we saw improvement in all but one area, although it seems that on an underlying basis, the critical Asia Pac region saw no change in underlying demand,” wrote Morgan Stanley analyst Nicole DeBlase in a Thursday note.

CAT Machine Sales By Region The Asia Pacific region saw a 17 percent drop in machine sales , according to figures announced in February. Photo: Caterpillar Inc.

Asia-Pacific saw the greatest drop, 17 percent, while North American sales actually increased by 1 percent. The company sells most of its machinery to independently owned dealers and manufacturers.

The Thursday filing is also the first time Caterpillar has provided a geographical breakdown of its construction vs. resource sectors. Though the single month of data is of limited use for now, ot should become more helpful as the year progresses.

Sales in resources industries were down 37 percent globally, with the biggest dip in Asia, which saw a 53 percent decrease.

“We remain concerned that resource inventory overhang will persist into 1Q14,” wrote DeBlase.

Meanwhile, the company’s construction sector saw more positive results, with a 9 percent increase all around.