Thursday, 28 August 2008

US durable goods orders unexpectedly strong

US manufacturing is proving to be surprisingly resilient. From Bloomberg:

Orders for U.S. durable goods unexpectedly increased in July, indicating that growing demand from abroad is still helping companies weather a slump in domestic spending.

The 1.3 percent gain in bookings of goods meant to last several years matched the previous month's rise, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The gains may have been aided by foreign demand for automobiles, aircraft and telecommunications gear as exports climbed to a record...

Economists projected orders would be unchanged after a previously reported 0.8 percent increase in June, according to the median of 76 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

Excluding transportation equipment, orders rose 0.7 percent after a 2.4 percent increase. Those bookings were projected to fall 0.7 percent, after an originally reported 2 percent gain in June...

Bookings for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a measure of future business investment, increased 2.6 percent, the most since April...

But the resilience may not last.

The boost from exports, which kept the U.S. expanding last quarter, may wane because the European and Japanese economies are now contracting, while the dollar is rallying. Federal Reserve officials anticipate trade gains will fade, minutes of their Aug. 5 meeting showed yesterday...

Capital spending incentives included in the $168 billion economic stimulus package enacted in February have probably also lifted orders, Tony Crescenzi, chief bond strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York, wrote in a note today. That effect will fade, he predicted.

Also, don't forget that producer prices have been surging lately. That would have inflated the orders numbers.

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