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US factory orders post largest gain in 8 months
[WASHINGTON] New orders for US factory goods recorded their biggest increase in eight months in March, boosted by demand for transportation equipment, but the underlying trend remained weak against the backdrop of a strong dollar.
The Commerce Department said on Monday new orders for manufactured goods increased 2.1 per cent, the largest gain since July last year, after a revised 0.1 per cent dip in February.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast orders rising 2.0 per cent in March after a previously reported 0.2 per cent gain in February. Orders excluding transportation were flat in March after edging up 0.1 per cent in February.
Manufacturing has been hit by the strong dollar and lower crude oil prices, which are putting a squeeze on the profits of multinational corporations and oil firms.
The department also said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft - seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans - edged up 0.1 per cent instead of the 0.5 per cent drop reported last month.
Shipments of non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, used to calculate business equipment spending in the gross domestic product report, declined 0.4 per cent as previously reported.