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Financial News: U.S. Durable Goods Orders Unexpectedly Show Modest Increas

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Unexpectedly Show Modest Increase In August

09/27/2019 - 09:24:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Durable goods orders in the U.S. unexpectedly showed a modest increase in the month of August, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders rose by 0.2 percent in August after jumping by 2.0 percent in July. The continued increase surprised economists, who had expected orders to slump by 1.0 percent.

Orders for transportation equipment pulled back after leading the spike in the previous month, but the drop was more than offset by increases in other categories.

The report said orders for transportation equipment fell by 0.4 percent in August after surging up by 7.2 percent in July. Orders for non-defense aircraft and parts plunged by 17.1 percent after soaring by 52.2 percent.

Excluding the drop in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders increased by 0.5 percent in August after falling by 0.5 percent in July. Economists had expected ex-transportation orders to rise by 0.2 percent.

The bigger than expected increase in ex-transportation orders reflected strong growth in orders for primary metals and fabricated metal products.

Meanwhile, the report said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a key indicator of business spending, edged down by 0.2 percent in August after coming in unchanged in July.

Shipments in the same category, which is the source data for equipment investment in GDP, rose by 0.4 percent in August after falling by 0.6 percent in July.

Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, noted those shipments are still on course to be flat in the third quarter overall.

"This suggests that, after rising at an anemic 0.8% annualized pace in the second quarter, business equipment investment probably flat-lined in the third," Hunter said.

He added, "With weak global growth set to continuing weighing on the manufacturing sector and further trade uncertainty also likely to take a toll, we expect the recent weakness of equipment investment to continue for some time."

Next Thursday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on factory orders in August, which includes orders for both durable and non-durable goods.

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