Factory orders in U.S. decreased more than forecast in March

Commercial Aircraft

Commercial aircraft orders, which are often volatile, slumped 48.3% after jumping 86.4% in February. Last month, Chicago-based Boeing Co. said it had received orders for 39 aircraft in March, down from 179 the month before.

In today’s report, factory orders excluding transportation equipment declined 2% in March after a 0.7% decrease in February.

Orders for non-durable goods including petroleum and food decreased 2.4%, today’s report showed. Because those bookings aren’t adjusted for inflation they can reflect changes in prices rather than shifts in demand.

Bookings for capital goods excluding aircraft and military equipment, an indicator of future business investment, rose 0.9% in March after plunging 4.8% the prior month.

Shipments of those goods, a measure used in calculating gross domestic product, climbed 0.5% after a 1.8% increase the previous month. Those readings are stronger than the 0.3% and 1.2% reported in last week’s durable goods report, indicating first-quarter business investment may be revised up a bit.

Spending on equipment and software climbed at a 3% annualized rate from January through March after rising at an 11.8% pace in the previous three months, the Commerce Department’s report on gross domestic product showed last week.

Today’s figures on factory orders showed bookings for primary metals fell 3.2% in March. Demand dropped 31.3% for mining equipment and 6.8% for military aircraft.

Bloomberg News

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