Orders for durable goods in US factories dipped in January following strong growth the month before. According to the Commerce Department, January orders drawn lower by reduced demand for cars, auto parts, and military aircraft.
- Durable goods orders dropped 0.2% in February vs. 2.9% the month before.
- Excluding transportation equipment and vehicles, orders rose 0.9%.
- Annually, orders fell 2.3% with no change excluding transportation orders.
However, orders for civilian aircraft rose 346.2% in January after falling 66.7% the month before. Orders for military aircraft dropped 19.6% last month, and orders for cars and auto parts dropped 0.8%. Orders excluding military goods rose 3.6%, the most since June 2017. Orders for computers rose 8%, and orders for machinery rose 2.1%. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, an order which tracks business investment, rose 1.1% in January after falling the month before.
The drop in orders for goods meant to last three years was due to reduced demand for transport equipment, a volatile category. Excluding this category, orders saw the fastest growth since April 2018 at 0.9% growth. The manufacturing industry, which accounts for 11% of the US economy, has been negatively impacted by the ongoing trade war with China.
Core Durable Goods Orders pic.twitter.com/UdIDqfmeGF
— Don Draper (@DonDraperClone) February 27, 2020
While the conflict is now deescalating, tariffs on both sides saw reduced business investment as well as a tougher climate for manufacturers relying on import from or export to China. The coronavirus outbreak also looks set to impact manufacturing due to the major impact the outbreak is having on Chinese supply chains. American manufacturing has also been dealt a blow by the failure of the Boeing 737 Max airliner which was involved in two fatal crashes last year, leading to a suspension of production.
Gold prices have held above $1,650 following reports of sub-expectation jobless claims and in-line Q4 GDP readings. Spot gold last traded at $1,654.64/oz, up 0.89% with a high of $1,657.24/oz and a low of $1,637.50/oz. The Bank of America forecasts the coronavirus drag on global GDP significantly, resulting in just 2.8% growth for 2020, which would be the worst year for the world economy since the financial crisis, and this is strengthening the use case for gold in the financial markets.