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Last updateFri, 18 May 2018 4pm

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U.S. Durable Goods Orders Fell 3.7% in January

New orders for manufactured durable goods in January decreased $9.2 billion or 3.7% to $239.7 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced. This decrease, down following two consecutive monthly increases, followed a 2.6% December increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.3%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 2.7%. Transportation equipment, also down following two consecutive monthly increases, led the decrease, $8.6 billion or 10.0% to $77.7 billion. 


Texas Manufacturing Activity Rises to 12-Year High

Texas factory activity expanded at a faster pace in February, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose 11 points to 27.9, signaling a pickup in output growth.

Demand growth continued at roughly the same pace as in January, while some other measures of manufacturing activity pointed to slightly stronger growth this month. The new orders and growth rate of orders indexes held steady at 25.3 and 15.3, respectively. The capacity utilization index rose five points, coming in at 19.6. The shipments index also rose five points and reached 32.1, its highest reading since 2006

U.S. Borrowing for Business Equipment Up 10%

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index, which reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $1 trillion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for January was $6.9 billion, up 10% year-over-year from new business volume in January 2017. Volume was down 46% month-to-month from $12.8 billion in December, following the typical end-of-quarter, end-of-year spike in new business activity. 

Leading Economic Indicators Rose in January

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 1.0% in January to 108.1, following a 0.6% increase in December, and a 0.4% increase in November.

“The U.S. LEI accelerated further in January and continues to point to robust economic growth in the first half of 2018. While the recent stock market volatility will not be reflected in the U.S. LEI until next month, consumers’ and business’ outlook on the economy had been improving for several months and should not be greatly impacted,” said The Conference Board’s Ataman Ozyildirim. “The leading indicators reflect an economy with widespread strengths coming from financial conditions, manufacturing, residential construction, and labor markets.” 

IHS Markit Manufacturing Index Rose in February

U.S. manufacturers reported a strong upturn in business conditions during February, which continued the positive trend seen at the start of 2018. At 55.9, up from 55.5 in January, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) pointed to the fastest improvement in overall business conditions since October 2014. A sharp and accelerated rise in incoming new business helped to boost the headline PMI in February, while manufacturing production growth was little-changed since January. The latest rise in new order volumes was the steepest for around three-and-a-half years, which survey respondents attributed to greater sales to domestic clients alongside further export gains. 

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