US durable goods orders flat in August

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WASHINGTON, Sept 29, 2016 (BSS/AFP) – Orders for US manufactured durable goods were unchanged in August, hitting a plateau after rising in July, according to data released Wednesday by the Commerce Department.

Total new orders for manufactured goods totalled $226.9 billion, barely changed after having risen 3.6 percent in July. Analysts had forecast a decrease of 1.9 percent for August.

However, excluding transportation, an important but volatile component, orders fell 0.4 percent. Defense orders for capital goods rose $2.3 billion, or 23.6 percent, to $11.9 billion.

According to Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics, the August results were signficantly boosted by the US Air Force’s recent order of 19 new tanker aircraft from Boeing, which helped offset a decline in civilian aircraft orders.

However, he said the figures showed a third consecutive gain in core capital equipment expenditures, excluding defense items and aircraft.

“The key factor driving the turnaround is the rebound in activity in the oil sector,” he said, adding that another business survey indicate gains in capital spending by non-oil sectors.

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