US durable goods fell in Dec for fifth straight month

29 January 2009 14:22  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--New orders for US durable goods fell by 2.6% in December to $176.8bn (€134.4bn), the US Commerce Department said on Thursday, marking the fifth consecutive monthly decline.

The December decline followed a drop of 3.7% in November and indicates that the US manufacturing sector is not likely to recover soon.

Durable goods are manufactured products meant to last three years or more and include such items as automobiles, appliances, transportation and manufacturing equipment. 

Many durable goods, such as computers and automobiles, are major downstream markets for chemicals and chemicals-based products used in manufacturing processes or as end-product components.

Excluding transportation equipment, new orders for durable goods were down more sharply at 3.6% below November’s figures.

The data for transportation equipment, which is heavily influenced by orders for commercial aircraft, is often backed out of the overall durable goods monthly figures. 

Aircraft orders often are made in multiple-plane purchases and in any given month those commitments - or their lack - can affect manufacturing data disproportionately.

In its monthly report, the department said unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods also declined in December for the third consecutive month, falling 1.3% to $803bn. This followed a 0.9% fall in November.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods increased by 0.4% in December to $343.5bn, the 17th increase in the last 18 months. The inventory increase last month followed a 0.3% gain in November.

The continuing decline in unfilled orders combined with increasing inventories indicates that manufacturers are having greater difficulty in selling goods that they produce.

US durable goods orders and inventories*

 

     Dec           (bn $)

   Dec vs Nov          (%)

    Nov vs Oct (r)              (%)

New orders

176.8

-2.6

-3.7

Unfilled orders

803.2

-1.3

-0.9

Total inventories

343.5

0.4

0.3

r: revised  *seasonally adjusted

($1 = €.76)

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By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653



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