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Orders for US capital-goods ease after robust October

[WASHINGTON] Orders placed with US factories for business equipment fell in November after a sharp upward revision to the previous month, consistent with an upswing in corporate investment that's helping propel the economy.

Bookings for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft eased 0.1 per cent last month, data from the Commerce Department showed Friday. The decline followed a 0.8 per cent increase in October that was more than double the previously reported 0.3 per cent advance. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey for November called for a 0.5 per cent gain.

Orders for all durable goods - items meant to last at least three years - increased 1.3 per cent as bookings for commercial and military aircraft rebounded.

Core capital goods orders advanced at an 18 per cent annualized rate in the three months through November, while those shipments moved ahead at a 14.9 per cent pace. The data indicate spending on equipment will provide more fuel for economic growth after a third-quarter contribution that was the most in two years.

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Increased investment may be sustained in 2018 as lower corporate tax rates, from a bill awaiting President Donald Trump's signature, give businesses the wherewithal to boost capital spending at the same time the global economy shows signs of firming.

Shipments of non-military capital goods excluding aircraft, which are used to calculate gross domestic product, increased 0.3 per cent in November after rising a revised 1.3 per cent the month before, according to the Commerce Department. October was previously reported as a 1.1 per cent gain.

Total demand last month was propelled by increased bookings for commercial aircraft, which climbed 14.5 percent in November after declining 15.8 per cent a month earlier.

Boeing Co, one of the world's largest airplane makers, said it received 159 orders for planes last month, up from 64 the previous month. Deliveries for the month totaled 70 aircraft, up from 56. Industry data don't always correlate with the government statistics on a month-to-month basis.

Excluding transportation equipment demand, which is often volatile from month to month, bookings for durable goods decreased 0.1 per cent in November, the first drop since May.

BLOOMBERG