Wednesday, September 28, 2005

US Durable Goods Rise More Than Expected as Demand Surges

Terrific August figures

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. orders for durable goods rose a greater-than-expected 3.3 percent in August, rebounding from the biggest drop in 18 months, as businesses sought to rebuild stocks depleted by surging sales.

Bookings for expensive items made to last several years rose to $210.9 billion, the fourth increase in five months, after falling a revised 5.3 percent in July, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Orders rose in all categories except defense equipment, led by aircraft and computers.

After a pause following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, businesses are likely to resume spending and give the economy a lift in 2006, economists said. Shipments rose the most this year and unfilled orders accumulated as companies struggled to meet the jump in demand, a sign that production will accelerate once the disruption from the storms dissipates.

``Spending is likely to slow in the months immediately ahead,'' said Richard DeKaser, chief economist at National City Corp. in Cleveland, who forecast a 3.7 percent gain in orders. ``I don't think it will be long lasting because this is an attractive interest rate environment for business investment and we'll have some catching up to do.''

Economists expected durable goods orders to rise 0.7 percent to $218.2 billion, based on the median of 64 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey, after a previously reported 4.9 percent drop in July. Estimates ranged from a decrease of 3.2 percent to a 5.7 percent rise.

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