US Factory Orders Drop

Orders to US factories fell more than expected in April, hurt by declines in demand for transportation equipment and machinery, the government reported Monday, but the underlying trend continued to indicate strong momentum in the manufacturing sector.T...

Orders to US factories fell more than expected in April, hurt by declines in demand for transportation equipment and machinery, the government reported Monday, but the underlying trend continued to indicate strong momentum in the manufacturing sector.

The Commerce Department said factory orders dropped 0.8 percent in April, following a revised 1.7 percent jump the previous month. But the monthly decline is likely to be temporary amid reports of strong manufacturing conditions in May.

Orders for transportation equipment fell 6 percent in April, pulled lower by a 28.9 percent plunge in volatile orders for civilian aircraft. Orders for motor vehicles increased 1 percent. Orders for machinery declined 0.7 percent, reflecting a drop of 11.6 percent in orders for mining, oilfield, and gasfield equipment.

But orders for electrical equipment and appliances climbed 1.8 percent, and there also were increases in orders for fabricated metal products and primary metals.

Unfilled orders at manufacturers rose 0.5 percent in April, the fifth increase in the last six months. Manufacturing inventories increased a moderate 0.3 percent, signaling strong factory production.

Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of U.S. economic activity, is being supported by strong domestic and global demand. While sentiment among manufacturers improved in May amid a surge of new orders, they complained about rising prices for raw materials, especially for steel.

Source: Saudi Press Agency