US capital-equipment orders fall for second straight month


Orders placed with US factories for business equipment declined in September for a second month, a sign momentum in capital investment has paused as global trade concerns persist, Commerce Department figures showed. The report showed declines in bookings for electrical equipment, appliances and components, while orders for computers and electronic products were unchanged. Categories with gains included motor vehicles and parts, as well as machinery.
Uncertainty over trade is already cutting into companies’ expected profits and expansion plans, making it a risk to the pace of economic growth. Companies are coping with higher prices for steel and aluminum, and some firms cite tariffs as an investment and growth concern.
The data cover orders and shipments affected by tariffs placed on goods by the US and China in July and August. In late September, the US imposed a 10 percent levy on $200 billion in Chinese goods, rising to 25 percent Jan. 1, and Trump has threatened fees on a further $267 billion of merchandise.
While business spending has been boosted this year by corporate tax cuts and buoyed by consumption, the latest figures suggest it might be cooling towards the end of the year. Even so, analysts project a 3.3 percent annualised pace of GDP growth in the third quarter, resulting in the best back-to-back periods since 2014.

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