Factory orders in the United States fell in December, while shipments increased.

  • 03 February, 2022
  • 6:42 pm EET

Factory orders in the United States fell in December, while shipments increased.

In December, new orders for American-made goods declined somewhat more than predicted, but manufacturing is still supported by businesses refilling stockpiles.

Factory orders fell 0.4 % in December, according to the Commerce Department. Orders increased 1.8 % instead of 1.6 % as previously reported in November, according to revised data. Factory orders were expected to fall 0.2 % , according to economists polled by Reuters. In 2021, orders climbed by 16.9%.

Businesses are rebuilding inventories, which support manufacturing, which contributes for 11.9 % of the economy.

In the fourth quarter, inventory investment increased at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of $173.5 billion, the second-highest quarterly rise on record.

Most analysts believe inventories have more room to rise, despite the fact that inflation-adjusted inventories are still below pre-pandemic levels. In addition, sales-to-inventory ratios are poor.

Inventories contributed 4.90 % points to the 6.9% annualized growth rate in the fourth quarter.

Orders for computers and electronic devices, as well as transportation equipment, decreased in December. However, orders for machinery, primary metals, and fabricated metal products, as well as electrical equipment, appliances, and components, climbed.

After increasing by 0.7 % in November, manufactured goods shipments increased by 0.4 % in December. Factory inventories increased by 0.3 % . Unfilled orders increased by 0.5 % after increasing by 0.8 % the previous month.

Orders for non-defense capital goods, excluding aircraft, gained 0.3 % in December instead of remaining constant as reported last month, according to the Commerce Department. Orders for non-defense capital goods, excluding aircraft, are considered as a barometer of business spending plans on equipment.

As previously reported, shipments of these so-called core capital goods, which are used to compute business equipment spending in the GDP report, grew 1.3 % in December.

In the fourth quarter, business equipment spending increased.


Natural gas stocks in the United States fell less than expected in the week ending January 28.

Stocks of US natural gas declined by 268 billion cubic feet in the week ending Jan. 28, less than the 280 billion cubic feet predicted in a Bloomberg survey and following a drop of 219 billion cubic feet the week before.

At 2.323 trillion cubic feet, stocks are 14.5 % lower than a year ago and 5.8 % lower than their 5-year average.


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