New orders at U.S. factories jumped by a much bigger-than-expected 3.7 percent in July and rose a strong 2.4 percent with the volatile transportation component stripped away, signaling robust export growth, a government report showed on Friday.
Analysts polled by Reuters expected factory orders to rise 0.8 percent in July after an upwardly revised 1.0 percent gain in June, originally reported as a 0.6 percent rise.
The July nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, viewed as a good proxy for business spending, rose 1.7 percent, slightly smaller than the 2.2 percent July gain reported on Aug. 24, the Commerce Department said.
Transportation equipment orders, a volatile category whose monthly performance is heavily influenced by commercial aircraft orders, rose 11.0 percent, powered by a 10.9 percent gain in orders for motor vehicle bodies, parts and trailers - the largest monthly increase for this category since January 2003.
Excluding transportation, orders rose 2.4 percent in July after a revised 0.4 percent fall in June. Boosting the figure was an 8.2 percent increase in orders for primary metals, the largest since July 2004, a 7.0 percent increase in orders for computers and electronic components and a 5.6 percent increase in orders for machinery.
July durable goods orders were revised to show a 6.0 percent increase, compared to last week's estimate of a 5.9 percent increase. The inventory-to-shipments ratio, a measure of how many months' supply it would take to deplete stockpiles at the current rate of sales, edged lower to 1.21 months from 1.24 months in June.