Thursday, August 24, 2006

US durable goods orders fall in July

US durable goods orders fall in July
By Daniel Pimlott and Richard Beales in New York
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006
Published: August 24 2006 14:35 | Last updated: August 24 2006 14:35

New orders for manufactured durable goods fell in July, adding to evidence that the US economy is slowing. But the view was complicated by strong defence orders and weak figures for transportation.

New orders in July fell $5.3bn or 2.4 per cent to $212.0bn, according to figures released by the US Census Bureau on Thursday.

Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting orders to fall by 0.5 per cent.

On Wednesday figures for sales of existing homes came in well below expectations. Recent price data has also suggested that slowing growth may be holding back inflation. But weekly data on new unemployment claims were in line with expectations, suggesting the US jobs market remains healthy.

Pre-market trading indicated a slightly higher opening for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite. Treasury bonds rallied slightly particularly at longer maturities, pushing yields lower.

The durable goods data were skewed by large drops in new orders for transportation goods. New orders increased 0.5 per cent when transportation was excluded as orders for motor vehicles and parts slumped by 7.0 per cent and orders for aircraft fell 10 per cent.

“This report is nowhere near as soft as the headline decline in orders suggests,” said John Ryding, an analyst at Bear Stearns. “Outside of transportation, order growth is robust and might even be picking up.”

Excluding unexpectedly strong data for defence orders, however, the durable goods figures decreased 1.9 percent.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, seen as an indicator of business spending, rose a larger than expected 1.5 per cent. Analysts had expected a 0.5 per cent rise, according to Reuters.

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in July increased $8.4 bn or 1.4 per cent to $630.7bn, the highest level since measures began in 1992.

Inventories of durable goods, which have grown in six out of the last seven months, increased $2.7bn or 1.0 per cent to $285.9bn.


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