Aircraft sales drive rebound in US durable goods in March

WASHINGTON, Sales of USmade manufactured goods

unexpectedly surged to a sixmonth high in March, rising on strong demand for

aircraft and communications equipment along with record auto sales, the

government reported Thursday.

The gains in aircraft orders came despite the travails of US aviation

giant Boeing, which has suspended deliveries and slowed production of its

topselling 737 MAX aircraft following two deadly crashes.

The jump in sales of bigticket manufactured items should bolster GDP

growth in the third quarter and came with a slight upward revision to

February, when the decline was not as deep as originally reported.

Total orders for US durable goods soared 2.7 percent to $258.5 billion for

the month, handily surpassing the 0.9 percent gain economists had been

expecting, Commerce Department data showed.

For February, the 1.6 percent decrease was recalculated to show a slightly

improved 1.1 percent drop.

The result put the first quarter of 2019 up three percent over the same

period last year.

Orders for civilian aircraft jumped 31.2 percent in March, more than

making up for February's losses, and suggesting demand for Americanmade

aircraft remains strong despite the crisis facing Boeing.

And after two weak months, sales of autos and parts rose 2.1 percent ahead

of the summer driving season, hitting their highest level since records began

in 1992 at $63.1 billion.

Excluding the volatile transportation sector, durable goods sales rose by

a more modest 0.4 percent, which was still stronger than expected and

reversed losses from prior months.

Computers, fabricated and primary metals all fell, according to the


But sales of civilian capital goods not including aircraft � a closely

watched proxy for business investment � rose 1.3 percent, putting it up for

a third straight month.

Meanwhile, communications equipment jumped 8.9 percent, the biggest one

month increase in more than four years, with purchases hitting their highest

level since March 2001 at $3.9 billion.

Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said the rise in capital goods

sales was hard to square with recent declines in an index for manufacturing


The jump in orders could easily be revised down substantially but for now

it is a very welcome surprise, adding to the evidence that the manufacturing

downturn is coming to an end, a bit sooner than we had anticipated, he said

in a client note.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)