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US durable goods orders fall in May

US orders for durable goods fell in May following three months of gains, driven by a sharp monthly fall in defence goods, Commerce Department data showed on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON: US orders for durable goods fell in May following three months of gains, driven by a sharp monthly fall in defence goods, Commerce Department data showed on Wednesday.

New orders for durable goods fell by US$2.4 billion, or 1.0 per cent, last month from April, when new orders had risen 0.8 per cent.

Nearly all of the fall was in defence goods, and secondly, civilian aircraft.

Orders for defence goods were down US$4.0 billion, or 31.4 per cent, and civilian aircraft orders fell by US$620 million. Both are key but often very volatile components of the total.

Offsetting those were a 2.1 per cent rise in orders for automobiles and auto parts, and gains in orders for primary and fabricated metals.

Year-on-year, new orders continued to grow steadily, up 4.2 per cent from May 2013.

Pantheon Macroeconomics economist Ian Shepherdson said the details of the data show an overall strong trend in the manufacturing sector and a solid rebound from the 2.9 per cent contraction in the economy in the first quarter, blamed in part on extremely harsh winter weather.

"The key number in the report -- orders for non-defence capital equipment, ex-aircraft -- rose 0.7 per cent," he pointed out.

"Even if this is unchanged in June, the quarter as a whole will be up 10 per cent annualised, the best since Q1 2013."

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