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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Rebounded
by Tom Moeller December 23, 2004

Durable goods orders rebounded 1.6% following a 0.9% decline in October that was twice the advance indication. The Consensus expectation had been for a 0.6% gain. Less transportation, orders fell 0.8% (+11.8% y/y) and added to a 1.3% decline in October.

Transportation equipment orders rose 8.2% reflecting a 41.9% spurt in aircraft & parts orders. Primary metals orders rose 3.9% (+23.6% y/y) but orders for fabricated metals eased 0.4% (+12.5% y/y).

Nondefense capital goods orders surged 8.1% m/m led by a 64.2% jump in aircraft. Excluding aircraft, orders rose 1.8% and recouped about half of the decline in October. A 4.6% (9.8% y/y) rise in orders for electrical equipment & appliances led the gain, however, that was offset by a 4.2% decline (+12.6% y/y) in orders for computers & electronic products, off for the second consecutive month. Machinery orders fell as well by 3.3% (+16.3% y/y).

Unfilled orders rose 1.2% (9.2% y/y), double the gain in October. Shipments fell for the second month in the last three so the rise in unfilled orders pulled the ratio of backlogs to shipments up sharply.

Inventories of durable goods surged 1.0% (8.3% y/y) after the 0.9% October gain which was revised up sharply. The inventory to shipments ratio rose to its highest level in a year.

NAICS Classification Nov Oct Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Durable Goods Orders 1.6% -0.9% 9.7% 2.6% -1.7% -10.5%
Nondefense Capital Goods 8.1% -3.4% 21.2% 5.6% -7.2% -15.5%
Excluding Aircraft 1.8% -4.1% 14.3% 6.6% -7.1% -12.9%
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