US confirms sharp drop in durable goods orders for July

05 September 2013 18:10  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The Commerce Department on Thursday confirmed the sharp drop in US orders for durable goods in July but said the decline was slightly more severe than first estimated.

In its follow-up report on durable goods production and sales for July, the department said that new orders fell by $18.1bn (€13.8bn) or 7.4% in the month compared with June, falling to $226.3bn.

In its initial estimate of July’s durable goods trade, issued in late August, the department had said that orders had declined by 7.3%.

While the change in the estimate is razor thin, Thursday’s appraisal did confirm July's precipitous decline. Subsequent estimates, based on a month of more complete trade data, often show a more positive picture.

The sharp July downturn followed three consecutive months of gains in durable goods orders.

Almost all of the July decline was attributed to a drop of $14.5bn in orders for civilian aircraft and parts, a decline of 52.3%.

Military aircraft and parts orders also were down in July but by a more modest 2.2%.

With aircraft and other transportation equipment orders backed out of the total, the overall decline was 0.6% in July from June.

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

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 derivatives used in manufacturing processes or as end-product components.

The department will issue its report on durable goods trade for August on 25 September.

($1 = €0.76)

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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