Orders for business equipment at U.S. factories unexpectedly fell for a second month, a sign that demand is cooling from its hot pace in recent quarters, a Commerce Department report showed Tuesday.
Highlights of Durable Goods (January)
Non-military capital goods orders excluding aircraft declined 0.2% (est. up 0.5%) after falling 0.6% the prior month
Shipments of those goods, which are used to calculate gross domestic product, rose 0.1% (est. up 0.3%) after an upwardly revised 0.7% increase
Bookings for all durable goods, items meant to last at least three years, dropped 3.7% (est. 2% decline) following a downwardly revised 2.6% increase
Excluding transportation-equipment demand, which is volatile, ordersfell 0.3% (est. up 0.4%) after rising 0.7%
The figures represented the first back-to-back drops in orders for business equipment since April-May 2016. The latest data included a 0.4 percent decline in orders for machinery, and a 0.8 percent drop in bookings for electrical equipment, appliances and components.
Total durable-goods demand last month was dragged down by bookings for commercial aircraft, which fell 28.4 percent in January after advancing 16.1 percent a month earlier. Boeing Co. has reported that it received 28 aircraft orders in January, down from 265 for December. Bookings for defense aircraft were down 45.6 percent following an increase of similar magnitude in December.
Even with the decline, capital investment is likely to be supported in 2018 by the Republican-backed tax legislation signed by President Donald Trump in December. The law generally reduces taxes for businesses and individuals, with the Trump administration and lawmakers hoping the effects show in corporate and consumer spending.
Business-equipment investment in the U.S. rose at an 11.4 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter, the fastest in three years. Tuesday’s figures may partly reflect harsh weather in some parts of the U.S.
Source : Bloomberg