04262018Thu
Last updateThu, 26 Apr 2018 2pm

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Durable Goods Orders Rose 2.9% in December

New orders for manufactured durable goods in December increased $7.0 billion or 2.9% to $249.4 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced. This was the largest increase since June 2017. This increase, up four of the last five months, followed a 1.7% November increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.6%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.2%.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in December, up seven of the last eight months, increased $1.5 billion or 0.6% to $246.8 billion.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in December, up seventeen of the last eighteen months, increased $1.3 billion or 0.3% to $406.5 billion. This followed a 0.2% November increase. 


U.S. GDP Increased 2.6% in the Fourth Quarter 2017

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the advance estimate just released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.2%.

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, residential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and federal government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from private inventory investment. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal Reached, Minus U.S.

One year ago, the U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Last week, the remaining 11 parties concluded negotiations and an agreement will be signed on March 8, 2018. Now rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the countries involved will be Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Together, they make up approximately 14% of global GDP. 

Survey: Small Business Optimism Hits 11-Year High

Small business owners entered the new year feeling the most optimistic since early 2007, according to findings from the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index conducted January 3–9. In the latest quarterly survey of small business optimism, the overall Index score came in at 107, up from 103 in November 2017, and the highest score since early 2007. A jump in the “future expectations” score – which measures how business owners expect their businesses to perform over the next 12 months – largely drove the improvement in optimism. In January, the score improved five points to 65, the highest reading since December 2006, the last time the “future expectations” score finished at 65. 

KC Fed: Manufacturing Activity Off to Strong Start in 2018

Manufacturing activity in the Kansas City Federal Reserve district strengthened further in January, and firms’ expectations for future activity increased. Most price indexes rose moderately from the previous month, with some indexes reaching five to ten-year highs. Growth in factory activity improved at both durable and non-durable goods plants, particularly for machinery, aircraft, chemicals and plastics.

Manufacturers were optimistic about the next six months, with roughly half of respondents expecting increased new orders, production, shipments and employment in the coming months. 

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