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US durable goods orders fall for 2nd month in September

[WASHINGTON] New orders for US durable goods fell for a second month in a row in September, another sign of persistent sluggishness in the manufacturing sector, official data released Tuesday showed.

Under pressure from another drop in often-volatile transportation equipment orders, new durable goods orders fell 1.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted US$231.1 billion, the Commerce Department said.

The September decline in orders for durable goods - manufactured products that typically last longer than three years - was in line with forecasts and followed a revised 3.0 percent drop in August.

Stripping out transportation, new orders fell 0.4 percent last month.

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Transportation orders dropped for a second straight month, by 2.9 percent. Commercial aircraft orders slumped 35.7 percent, more than three times as much as in August.

In a positive sign for the auto industry, which is enjoying robust sales this year, motor vehicle orders nearly reversed an August dip with 1.8 percent growth.

Year-over-year, new durable goods orders were down 4.6 percent.

The latest data highlights the weakness in the manufacturing sector, with exports hit by faltering foreign demand as the global economy slows and the strong dollar that makes them less price-competitive.

Manufacturing has lagged behind most other sectors as the economy musters moderate overall growth six years after exiting severe recession.

The Commerce Department reports Thursday its first estimate of third-quarter economic growth. Analysts expect the economy slowed to a 1.6 percent annual from a 3.9 percent expansion in the second quarter.