US sees strong durable goods sales in August
US aircraft sales surged again in August, after falling in July, pushing sales of durable goods up more than double what economists had been expecting for last month. (Photo: AFP/Jason Redmond)
WASHINGTON: US manufacturers booked strong sales of big-ticket durable goods in August, with orders for aircraft, computers, autos and communications equipment all rising, according to government data released on Wednesday (Sep 27).The increase was more than double what analysts were expecting but not enough to reverse a steep decline in July driven by volatile aircraft sales.Sales of defense aircraft and other goods also swung low for the month, weighing on the August number, according to the monthly data.Still, the strong showing could boost GDP growth in the third quarter.Total orders for durable goods rose 1.7 per cent compared to July to US$232.8 billion, a full percentage point above a consensus forecast for an increase of 0.7 per cent, the Commerce Department reported.So far this year, orders are up five per cent over the same period of 2016.
Aircraft orders, which spiked in June and tanked in July, rebounded again in August, surging 44.8 per cent.But excluding the transportation sector, which sees big swings from month to month, August orders were up only 0.2 per cent from the prior month, the second straight monthly increase.Excluding the defence sector, orders rose a strong 2.2 per cent.Defense aircraft orders fell 24.3 per cent while defence capital goods orders were the weakest since February, falling 9.4 per cent.
But orders for communications equipment saw their strongest monthly gain in nine months, rising four per cent.Motor vehicle orders, which have sagged during much of 2017, rose 1.5 per cent.Capital goods orders not including aircraft, key to the all-important oil sector, rose 0.9 per cent, slowing after July's 1.1 per cent gain.